British Columbia

Windy forecast has Okanagan officials bracing for further flooding

A bout of windy weather forecast for southern B.C. on Tuesday has officials warning residents of the Okanagan region to brace for further flooding and water damage.

Okanagan Lake surpasses 1990 flood levels, continues to rise after warm weekend weather

Sandra Bogardis, who lives on Wood Lake in B.C.'s Okanagan region, is preparing for more flooding as lake levels continue to rise. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

A bout of windy weather forecast for southern B.C. on Tuesday has officials warning residents of the Okanagan region to brace for further flooding and water damage.

The Central Okanagan Regional District (CORD) says Okanagan Lake is still rising as recent warm weather melts the mountain snow pack that feeds the lake, and high winds could cause increased wave action and shoreline erosion.

"Just from living here, you can see the water rising almost every day to levels that we just don't usually see," said Kari O'Rourke, with the CORD Emergency Operations. "It's certainly a visual cue to people."

Lake levels continue to rise throughout the Okanagan and have left Sandra Bogardis' Lake Country property saturated. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

1990 record broken

At 342.91 metres on Monday, the lake has surpassed the level it reached during flooding in 1990. CORD Emergency Operations is expecting the lake to reach at least 343 metres.

Environment Canada is calling for wind gusts between 50 and 70 kilometres an hour between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, with the possibility of up to 10 millimetres of rain.

O'Rourke urged waterfront property owners to prepare for more water and wave action.

"If they're along the waterfront and they don't have protective measures or flooding measures in place, they need to get them in there right away," she said.

A detailed interactive map is available on the CORD Emergency Operations website that includes areas of the lake at greatest risk of flooding, as well as pickup locations for sand and sandbags.

Albert Hepworth says he's been struggling to keep the water out as Wood Lake continues to rise. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

Lake Country homeowners still waterlogged

Sandra Bogardis says the slowly advancing water from Wood Lake in Lake Country, north of Kelowna, has become impossible for her to keep out of her business, since it's now coming in through the ground.

"We have pumps running. We have sandbags. We have boarded, but there's nothing we can do because everything's coming from underneath," Bogardis said.

Albert Hepworth, also on Wood Lake, says he has six inches of water in his crawl space and has been struggling to keep it from getting any higher.

"We're keeping up, to a point, but it seems to be coming in more than we can get rid of it," he said.

Both Bogardis and Hepworth are nervous about what strong winds could mean for their homes. But Bogardis says a sense of community spirit and offers of support from friends, family and neighbours are keeping her positive.

"You even just get a text from somebody and it makes you feel so good," she said.

With files from Brady Strachan.

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