Swiftwater rescue technicians Richard Szabo and Dale Jorgensen from Penticton Search and Rescue practise probing techniques in Ellis Creek near where it empties into the Okanagan River channel. Western News file photo

Flood watch

A perfect storm is happening for flooding throughout the region

A higher snow pack than normal, recent rainfall and warm weather is creating a perfect storm for flooding throughout the region.

Dale Kronebusch, emergency services supervisor for the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen, said the next few weeks are critical as temperatures continue to rise.

“It’s been recorded that the snow pack is 140 per cent higher than normal and that’s due to the higher amount of rain we’ve had over the last month. The snow is going to start melting and with the rain and thunderstorms we’re expecting the water is on the rise,” he said.

A number of creeks throughout the RDOS are running for the first time in 20 or 25 years.

“In the southern part of the province creeks are running higher and faster than they have ever done. We’re getting reports of creeks that haven’t run in a number of decades. It’s really a phenomenon,” he said.

Kalamalka Lake near Vernon is almost at capacity, Kronebusch learned during a conference call regarding possible flooding Thursday morning.

The lake flows into Okanagan Lake, which flows into Okanagan River and continues to flow south.

“All the gates are open in Okanagan River,” Kronebusch said.

Areas of concern of flooding include rural Oliver and the Twin Lakes area.

The community of Tulameen will also expected to see flooding as the Tulameen River continues to rise. The Tulameen River flows into the Similkameen and there are concerns parts of Olalla will flood.

“We want to remind people and their pets to stay away from rivers and creeks and be cautious of the high, fast moving water.”