The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is advising property owners to be aware of the possibility of localized flooding due to freshet, in the coming months.
As of February 1st , the snowpack across the South Okanagan was 129% of average values for this time of year.
As a result, there remains a risk of flooding due to rainfall events. Residents living in areas impacted by flooding in recent years should have a preparedness plan in place. The RDOS and provincial staff will continue to monitor snow conditions and lake levels. The Province will respond as necessary to manage lake and river levels through winter and spring.
The Province has noted higher than average snowpack and staff have initiated higher flows out of Okanagan Lake. This is being done to lower the lake level in advance of the spring snowmelt period and to reduce potential flood risks. Snowpack levels are only one indicator of spring freshet flood risks. Key drivers also include spring weather including widespread heavy rain, or periods of warmer weather causing rapid melt.
“Property Owners are responsible for protecting their property.” In British Columbia, property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps on their property to protect their home and property from flooding, while government emergency programs focus on broader flood response measures.
The RDOS will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed, in addition to information about sandbag placement. Flooding on private property will typically occur as a result of high stream flow, pooling or slow rising water from a body of water.