The storm of May 4th caused significant flooding in the Central and North Okanagan and in pockets of the South Okanagan – Similkameen. The North and Central Okanagan are bearing the worst of the situation, and the aftermath is still affecting residents, properties, and infrastructure in those communities.
Although most stream flows have reduced for the moment, the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre is still active. It is uncertain how or if the situations further up the valley may affect the south Okanagan as water flows south through the mainstem lakes. The prediction of thunderstorms and rain by Environment Canada starting Thursday May 11 could add additional volumes of water moving through the lakes system to Osoyoos Lake.
The Town of Osoyoos will take precautionary measures by sandbagging its critical infrastructure along the lake shore in order to protect the Town’s sewer lift stations in the event of possible flooding. Residents/business owners along the shores of Osoyoos Lake who have had high water levels and needed to sand bag in previous years, should know where to access sandbags by calling either the Town of Osoyoos or the RDOS.
The Town is currently awaiting a new shipment of sandbags and sand from the Province. Location of those will be posted on the Town’s website www.osoyoos.ca as soon as they are delivered. We are being proactive, in anticipation of the heavy rain in the next few days and the higher temperatures bringing down the snow melt into the Similkameen River.
This is a good opportunity for Osoyoos and area residents to also be proactive. Make sure to check and clear culverts on your property, remove machinery or equipment and valuables that may potentially be affected by flooding. Those neighbourhoods and areas that have experienced flooding in the past should remain alert for signs of water blockages, debris filled creeks near culverts and weirs. Report these to the RDOS or Town of Osoyoos. Also, being a good neighbour, checking in on neighbours or those that may have mobility issues is appreciated. Alert children of the potential hazard of being close to creeks with high or fast flowing water.
This region is fortunate to have, at this point, no immediate serious threats and the window of time to continue to be proactive and remain alert. BC Rivers Forecast Centre predicts thunderstorms for Thursday and more precipitation on the weekend. This may cause creeks and rivers to rise again, combined with the melting snow pack. The levels are actively being monitored by all agencies and local governments.