Lake reaches new heights

UPDATE 4:05 p.m.

Okanagan Lake could rise to levels near those experienced in 1948. That year, lake levels peaked at 343.28 metres above sea level.

New information provided through the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre and the Ministry of Environment, indicates Okanagan Lake could rise another 10 centimetres.

The lake level Wednesday morning was pegged at 343.15 metres.

"With snow remaining at higher mountain elevations, Okanagan Lake is predicted to peak mid-June. Mission Creek levels are also expected to continue to rise and residents are advised to prepare for increased levels," the EOC said in a news released issued late this afternoon.

On top of that, about five to 10 milimetres of rain could be dumped on the Okanagan as a result of a thunderstorm expected to hit the region this afternoon or evening.

The rain will be accompanied by wind gusts up to 70 to 80 km per hour starting this afternoon and lasting until Thursday evening.

Original 11 a.m.

After surpassing the expected level of 343 metres above sea level, Okanagan Lake has reached a second predicted height.

The lake rose another four centimetres in the last 24 hours, putting it at 343.15 metres.

After hitting 343 metres late last week, it was predicted Okanagan Lake could rise another 10 to 15 centimetres.

Officials at the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre are expected to meet with the Ministry of Environment later today to figure out how high the lake could rise.

Okanagan Lake did hit 343.28 metres during the historic flooding event of 1948.

EOC communications officer Jodie Foster said crews are still assessing flood barriers following Tuesday's storm, however, she said it appears the area fared fairly well.

A severe thunderstorm watch for the Okanagan, with a potential for heavy winds, rain and hail, is forecast for later today.

"As with all of this, it's very weather dependent, and we still have a lot of snow in the higher elevation snowpack," said Foster.

"Heat and rain at higher elevations and rain below can complicate things by adding water to the creeks."

Foster said all evacuation alerts remain in place, including those issued Tuesday night for properties around the mouth of Mission Creek.

With storm activity from last night and more expected today, the EOC reminds those people at lower elevations to check any flood barriers to make sure they remain strong, and fortify any where required.

The City of Kelowna meantime has closed the stretch of beach from Lake Avenue to Burne Avenue in the interest of public safety.

Closures include the previously announced Lake Avenue beach access, including the pedestrian bridge, as well as beach access points at McTavish Avenue, Vimy Avenue, Beach Avenue and Burne Avenue. These closures will be in effect until flood waters subside and crews are able to remove flood barriers from the area.

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