Winds, storm surge cause some flooding as Okanagan Lake creeps upward
The lake reached 342.95 metres, five centimetres below its highest ever recorded level
The Central Okanagan Regional District reported localized flooding in the wake of a powerful windstorm that swept across southern British Columbia on Tuesday.
The district said in a news release that residences in low-lying areas near lakes throughout the region were affected as winds caused a storm surge and whipped up waves, pushing already high water levels past flood stage.
- Thousands across B.C. lose power overnight after high winds
- Windy forecast has Okanagan officials bracing for further flooding
The district says Okanagan Lake rose 4.5 centimetres during the storm, reaching 342.95 metres, five centimetres below its highest recorded level of 343 metres, set in 1948.
The Okanagan Indian Band issued evacuation orders for several lakeside properties southwest of Vernon, while the district warned residents that water saturated ground creates a greater hazard of falling trees in the aftermath of the storm.
'I couldn't believe the wind'
There's not much left of Terry Muir's dock along the lake in Okanagan Landing. It's was almost completely destroyed with only a few boards left intact.
Muir tried to hold his dock down with four giant oil barrels, but even that proved no match for the force of nature.
"I've done that before and they've lasted, but this time bang, bang, bang, the waves were really high and the wind was like phenomenal. I couldn't believe the wind," he said.
Environment Canada says temperatures will drop significantly from the unseasonable highs recorded earlier in the week and the regional district urged residents in low-lying areas to use the break in the weather to fortify flood protection before another heat wave this weekend.
Recent warm weather accelerated the melting of heavy snowpacks throughout the southern Interior, and the River Forecast Centre says the Kettle, Nicola and Salmon rivers are on flood watch.
With files from Brady Strachan