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Additional flooding precautions for South Okanagan

By Contributor
June 10th, 2011

As the above-normal snowpack continues to melt, people are advised to take further precautionary and safety measures around the region’s lakes and rivers.

Lakeshore property owners are advised to take all necessary actions to minimize potential impacts to their property and docks from high lake levels and wave action on both the Okanagan and Osoyoos lakes.

The weather over the next few weeks will be a critical factor influencing lake levels.

Okanagan Lake

Staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has been increasing the release of water in Okanagan River to create space in Okanagan Lake over the past several weeks.

However, due to the above-normal snowpack and subsequent snowmelt combined with rain, the actual volume of runoff into Okanagan Lake will fill the lake above its full pool – or target upper operating – elevation.

The lake is rising at approximately two centimetres per day and is currently eight centimetres below full pool.

Although the rate of rise will slow in the coming days and the lake level is expected to peak within the next two weeks, how high it may rise above full pool depends on the coming weather.

Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoos Lake is forecast to rise and reach or exceed 278.7 metres (914.5 feet) elevation over the next few days.

This is due to the higher-than-normal flows in the Okanagan River, as well as in the Similkameen River where it meets the Okanogan River at Oroville.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is working with the Washington State Department of Ecology to minimize the rise in Osoyoos Lake.

This will be done by temporarily reducing the managed releases in the Okanagan River.

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