Barricading the lake

Flood barriers are being installed as Okanagan Lake continues to rise.

Since Monday afternoon, the lake rose more than 2.5 centimetres to 342.70 metres above sea level.

“Residents in some of the lowest-lying areas of Kelowna might see crews deploying flood protection measures today,” the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said in a statement.

Bladder dams, gabion barriers and sandbags will be installed along the foreshore as they are the most vulnerable areas that are prone to flooding.

"We are about 30 cm below the 343 metre mark at which we begin to concern ourself with lake-effect flooding," said Jason Luciw, public information officer, EOC.

Luciw said the area around Pritchard Park is the lowest area in relation to the lake in the Central Okanagan.

Locations between William R. Bennett Bridge and Kelowna General Hospital will see flood protection measures on the beach. Flooding prevention work is also going on at Pritchard Park and Pebble Park.

"Two large water pumps are installed near Kelowna General hospital to pump out storm drain system and lower water table in those areas," said Luciw.

About 15 homes between Royal Avenue and Atwood Place will also have barriers created to protect KGH.

Wooden stakes will be placed along the waterfront properties to show where the survey determined the lake level could reach when it hits the 343.6 metre level. The top height of the stake is where residents should build their sandbag barrier walls to.

Stacey Harding, risk manager for EOC, said significant flooding will start if the lake rises another 30 cm.

Debris washed up on beaches should be left in place. The logs and other material will help limit erosion caused by wave action.

“Boaters should also keep their distance from shorelines and if possible keep speeds down as additional wave action could cause disturbance to banks and beaches,” says the emergency centre.

Luciw said there is the potential for flooding to seep up in low lying areas, and it may even occur before the lake floods as storm sewer systems could back up.

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