UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
The immediate risk of flooding has subsided as water levels drop in Kelowna waterways.
Mission Creek has calmed, for now, with the height of the river dropping to 1.5 metres on the afternoon of June 15, after causing destruction on June 14, while raging at a height of more than 2 metres.
The flooding caused by the high water levels required the city to declare a state of emergency on June 14.
The state of emergency remains in place with more rain forecasted throughtout the week, which may cause water levels to rise again.
Stay up to date with the flow and height of Kelowna’s waterways at wateroffice.ec.gc.ca.
UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.
With more rain in the forecast for Kelowna (Thursday) the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is asking the public to leave debris, washing up on shore from the Mission Creek flood, in place until water levels recede as it helps to protect from further shore erosion.
Boaters are also asked to be mindful of their speed and wake to prevent the risk of property damage.
“As we are in the annual freshet season, water levels have not yet peaked in the Okanagan Lake and there is currently a significant amount of debris from the flood in the lake,” said Sandra Follack, EOC Program Coordinator. “Once the risk of flood has passed, we will advise the public when it is appropriate to begin clean up. “
Follack said crews have been out inspecting creeks and bridges for debris, but added weather conditions over the coming days are expected to continue to be unsettled with up to five to 10 mm of rain in the next 24 hours. City crews will continue to inspect bridges, watching for debris, and monitoring the water levels and the weather.
All eyes are on Mission Creek, Scotty Creek and the upper reaches of Mill Creek as a late spring freshet is causing imminent flooding in Kelowna, while one person possibly swept up in fast-moving water remains missing.
On Tuesday, the Regional District of Central Okanagan declared a local state of emergency as residents stay on high alert.
While the special weather statement issued on Sunday, which called for prolonged rainfall, has now ended, officials have forecast that rivers across the province will continue to swell.
Environment Canada had forecasted between 20 and 40 mm of rain over 24 hours, however, Kelowna saw up to 65mm — more than the creeks could handle.
RDCO Emergency Program Coordinator Sandra Follack said it was, “totally unexpected.”
Following the declaration of the state of emergency, RCMP along with Central Okanagan Search and Rescue were called to Pasadena Road to look for someone who may have been swept away by the fast-moving Mission Creek.
“We don’t know for sure,” said Duane Tresnich with COSAR. “Right now we’re doing a search to see if that happened. The RCMP have called us in to assist in locating a missing person.”
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, emergency crews had no further update on the situation.
Closures from debris
KLO Road at the KLO Bridge between Leader and Spiers Roads continues to have intermittent closures due to the clearing of debris.
Staff are continuously working to ensure debris is cleared and flaggers are on-site to direct traffic. Casorso Road at Swamp Road remains open at this time, despite water flooding over the pavement.
The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is active and city crews are inspecting bridges, looking for debris in the areas, and monitoring the water levels and the weather.
Sand and bags available
Property owners in flood-prone and low-lying areas are responsible for protecting their properties from possible flood damage.
Residents in affected areas that may be concerned about their properties can pick up sand and sandbags at the Capital News Centre located at the corner of Gordon and Lequime Roads.
For Wednesday, Environment Canada is anticipating a 30 per cent chance of showers late in the afternoon with a risk of a thunderstorm.
Thursday appears to be more unpredictable with a 70 per cent chance of showers for the day.
What a local state of emergency means
Emergency powers available to the local authorities include:
• acquire or use any land or personal property considered necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster;
• authorize or require any person to render assistance of a type that the person is qualified to provide to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster;
• cause the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock, animals and personal property from any area of British Columbia that is or may be affected by an emergency or a disaster and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons, livestock, animals and personal property;
• authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program or if otherwise considered by the minister to be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster;
• cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structures or crops if the demolition or removal is considered by the minister to be necessary or appropriate in order to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster;
• construct works considered by the minister to be necessary or appropriate to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency or disaster.
For up-to-date information on the situation on the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website or follow them on Twitter.
Local State of Emergency declared for City of Kelowna News Release No. 2 - Local State of Emergency Declared for the City of Kelowna https://t.co/6J6gjxgLgO— Central Ok Emergency (@CO_Emerg) June 14, 2022
Emergency numbers to keep close
• To report an emergency, including threat of life, call 911.
• To report a flooding concern or potential problem (non-emergency) contact your local public works department.
• City of Kelowna: 250-469-8600
• City of West Kelowna: 778-797-1000
• District of Lake Country: 250-766-5650
• District of Peachland: 250-767-2108
• Westbank First Nations: 250-707-0493
• Regional District of Central Okanagan Electoral Areas East and West: 250-763-4918.
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