The snowpack is higher this year than the level last year that contributed to the high water in local creeks. Mark Brett/Western News

Water levels rising in local creeks

Public advised to avoid fast flowing water near creeks

People are being reminded to be careful around creeks, swollen to higher than normal by melting snow and increasing runoff.

“In an abundance of caution we are advising property owners alongside creeks located in the City of Penticton that the 2018 freshet may bring higher than average creek flows,” said Mitch Moroziuk, the city’s general manager of infrastructure. “High, fast-running water is dangerous and may cause erosion. During high creek flows you should stay well away from the creek banks and you should move any assets or items that that are close to the bank or that may be hazardous to the watercourse to prevent damage or loss should bank erosion occur.”

Owners of structures, equipment or land located adjacent to creeks should also take steps to prevent loss or damage.

Related: Kearns Creek dam near Willowbrook reaches capacity

The city will be monitoring creek flows and undertaking creek inspections to note and address areas of concern. Members of the public noticing any problems or having questions can call 250-490-2500.

Sandbags are available a Fire Station 202, 285 Dawson Ave., free of charge for anyone needing to take preventative measures on their property.

The March 1 Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin from the River Forecast Centre indicates that the snowpack in the Okanagan Region is 141 per cent of normal with the outlook of additional snow accumulation over the coming months. The snowpack is higher than the range from the period 2011 to 2017 which was 85 per cent to 123 per cent of normal.

Related: Bracing for spring flooding across Okanagan

Weather patterns during the snowmelt season play a critical role in whether or not flooding occurs. Intense or prolonged rainfall and extreme temperatures are important factors that can lead to flooding, even for areas with a near-normal snowpack.

Related: Rainstorm causes road flooding in Naramata and Okanagan Falls

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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