NEW LAKE PLANNING LEVEL BEING ISSUED FOR FLOOD AFFECTED AREAS IN CENTRAL BC
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By Ronan O'Doherty
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (CORD) is using 343.5m (above sea level) as their new planning number when preparing for flood protection.
They are advising the residents in the Central Okanagan Regional District to do the same.
"That number is the level we want people to protect to and above," said Laura Wilson, a Public Information Officer with CORD, "We've been mapping historical levels, checking the snowpack and the weather."
According to CORD's calculations, 30% of the upper elevation snowpack that is left in the mountains has yet to melt.
"We also have rain in our forecast beginning Thursday that might go through the weekend," said Wilson.
5 to 10mm of precipitation is expected per day, which could prove to be a problem for areas that are already super saturated.
Wind action is also of serious concern to the municipalities affected and officials are saying that an extra buffer (around 60cm) on top of 343.5m above sea level measurement should be taken into consideration.
"We will, later this afternoon, be releasing the maps of that level on our website," Wilson said, "That will include the lake level and we will try and map out groundwater spots as well."
Across the Central Okanagan they are reinforcing critical infrastructure such as water booster and lift stations near lakes in low-lying areas.
In Peachland, workers are currently surveying Beach Avenue Road to determine the exact elevation so that additional flood protection can be implemented as required.
In Kelowna, the sandbagging of the mouth of Mill Creek due to back water effect was completed on Sunday. They are still taking similar protective measures near the mouth of Mission Creek due to back water effect as well.
On Sunday, an additional 200,000 sandbags were delivered to meet the area's needs. 500,000 more are expected today.
CORD is asking residents who are pumping water out of their houses to use natural areas like creeks and ditches instead of storm drains or the sanitary sewage system, as they run a high risk of backing up and causing major problems.
Although water levels have been fluctuating, residents are still being asked to remain on high alert due to the historic high water event.