Okanagan Lake Water Levels Soar

Sub Levels

Okanagan Lake is “rising pretty fast,” in the words of Okanagan Dam discharge manager Shaun Reimer.

Reimer, director of public safety and protection at the Department of Environment’s branch in Penticton, said last week’s record-high temperature wave had excessively stimulated the melting of snowpacks in the spring.

“It’s normal for the lake level to rise about three centimeters per day at this time of year, but with the weather continuing and the possibility of rain this weekend, it’s likely to rise more rapidly. It looks like it’s going up,” Reimer said.

He said Okanagan Lake remains 85 cm shorter than the full pool at 342.48 cm.

Reimer said the gradual process would see snowpacks melting first in the lowlands, then in the middle ground, and then in the highlands.

This process was made even more possible by cooler-than-normal temperatures throughout April.

“Even driving around, I could clearly see the higher snow levels,” he said.

But the combination of temperatures surpassing 25 degrees Celsius and staying below freezing at night changed all that quickly, causing the tributaries to discharge unusually high levels of water into the Okanagan Lake and Okanagan River ahead, causing the snowpacks to split into three layers. All levels melted at the same time. of schedule.

“Usually we hit our biggest targets towards the end of June, but sudden and extreme weather changes can have an impact,” said Reimer.

After the rains, he hopes the weather cools for a short period of time and sub-zero temperatures return to the higher altitude marks.

“So it’s not welcome at all because it’s expected to rain this weekend…but in the case of thunderstorms, it can be localized in terms of intensity in certain areas, so it’s going to happen.” We won’t know how it will affect us until we do,” Reimer said.

He pointed out that the legacy of past wildfires in the basin over the past two decades also leaves the tributary freshwater runoff with the potential for silt turbidity.

“Right now I am concerned about the tributaries feeding into the Okanagan River. Okanagan Lake looks good in the short term and we will see what weather issues arise,” he said. rice field.

“I know the last few days of June have been very difficult for us, but June is usually a wet month. When the volume comes, you have a problem.”

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BC Flood Bulletin Okanagan Water

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