Is the worst over?

Rain, and a lot of it, seems to be all that will significantly push up the level of Okanagan Lake from here on.

Since Monday, the lake level has increased only slightly after several days of two to five centimetre increases.

The lake level late Wednesday afternoon was 343.249 metres above sea level.

And, as the upper elevation snowpack shrinks, the flow of Mission Creek has lessened to below normal flows for this time of year.

During a conference call Wednesday afternoon, Dave Campbell with the River Forecast Centre partially dismissed a June 1 snowpack report which showed a snow basin index of 228 per cent above normal in the Okanagan.

"I think that reflects the high conditions we've seen, more than being a predictor of future risk. That's an important point," said Campbell.

"We are getting the sense a lot of the mid elevation, and trickling into the higher elevation, snow is gone. So, despite seeing high elevation snowpack being above normal, we've lost a lot of the snow that is below that elevation."

He said it was that snowpack that was driving the higher-than-normal stream flows.

Shaun Reimer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, said things look somewhat encouraging, as long as we don't see a lot of rainfall this weekend, and over the coming few weeks.

In speaking of the snowpack and rising lake levels, Reimer says it's having a reduced impact compared with a month ago, and, as we move forward, that will continue to diminish.

Both agreed it will take a significant rain event to have a big impact.

"If you look at precipitation over the last 60 to 90 days, Penticton has been 270 per cent of normal. If we got 270 per cent of normal for June, that starts to become a significant amount," said Campbell.

He added for a four to five centimetre jump in lake level, we would need to see 20 to 30 millimetres of rain in a single day.

Rain forecast for the next several days call for amounts of five to 10 millimetres Thursday and showers over the weekend, and into early next week.

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