Penticton weathered last night’s thunderstorm and winds, but more of the same is on the way.
Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Central and South Okanagan regions, including Penticton.
Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.
The damage that hail can bring to fruit crops and property is bad enough, but strong winds combined with an overfull Okanagan Lake can produce waves that drive the lake over the sandbag dikes that have been built along the beach and around other low-lying areas.
Environment Canada says Okanagan Lake reached 343.15 metres at 5:25 a.m. on May 31, a four-centimetre rise since May 30 at 7 a.m. when the lake level was reported as 343.11 metres.
“The city survived the storm last night. We are still conducting inspections but initial reports are good,” said Penticton CAO Peter Weeber. “Our focus is to continue to repair and enhance protection measures around the City in anticipation of a series of weather events over the coming weeks.”
Weeber said the marina club house had about two inches of flooding, but the marina overall is in good shape after damage to the breakwater from last week’s windstorm was repaired.
“Ground water has caused us some grief in the lakeside pump station but it is manageable,” said Weeber.
Work crews and volunteers were out Wednesday adding to more than 75,000 sandbags already placed over the last two weeks.
Tuesday evening, Summerland declared a State of Local Emergency for the Trout Creek area, concerned over the effect of rising ground water on Summerland’s electrical system.
“In some isolated areas, water has now reached elevations high enough to submerge the electrical connections in underground vaults and junction boxes,” reads the announcement. “Although the electrical cabling is rated to be submerged in water, the connections are not.”
The risk is water in contact with the connections could become electrified and carry the charge to the surface, creating a public safety risk. Power was turned off to a series of properties on Johnson Street, Dale Avenue, and Lighthouse Landing.