Lake hits forecast high

As Okanagan Lake continues to rise, two new evacuation alerts have been issued on the Westside.

The lake now sits around 343 metres above sea level, the predicted high the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations forecast several weeks ago.

West Kelowna residences from 1302 to 1454 Green Bay Road, 3660 to 3697 Green Bay Landing and 3575 to 3636 Wiig Road have been placed on evacuation alert, while Westbank First Nation waterfront residences from the W.R. Bennett Bridge to Old Ferry Wharf Road, as well as several waterfront cabins on Lindley Road, are now under an alert as well. 

The forecast 343 metres level was predicted several weeks ago, after consultation with provincial and federal agencies, experts on Okanagan Lake, floodplain mapping and the Emergency Operation Centre planning group.

“We anticipate it will be fluctuating around the 343 mark,” said Bruce Smith, Emergency Operation Centre communications officer, Thursday. “We made the prediction based on all those sources and information and we're pretty darn close.

While there is still plenty of snow in the mountains, and high temperatures in the forecast, Smith says many of the creeks that drain into the lake, like Mill Creek and Bellevue Creek, are fed from low to mid-elevation sources, where the snow is “pretty much gone.”

“Those streams that are fed by the mid and low elevations should start to return to normal levels and the ones like Mission Creek, which tend to be up in the higher Mission Creek watershed, which has still got quite a snowpack, that's the one that we're going to see some more increase as that upper level snow starts to melt,” Smith said. 

The EOC is still recommending residents protect their properties up to a 343.6 metre level, providing a 60 centimetre buffer for weather events and boat wake.

“There may be some fluctuation over and above but we're still anticipating if people are making those preparations for that 343.6, things are looking good at this point,” Smith said.

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