(UPDATE: July 29, 2017 @ 7:00 a.m.)
It's been quite the unusual Okanagan summer so far. In early June, Okanagan Lake hit historic levels - levels that kept the dam keeper busy crunching numbers to determine just how much water could be safely let out without damaging water systems and landscapes in neighbouring towns below.
On the morning of June 9th, Okanagan Lake rose .4 centimetres and hit a historic level of 343.251 m. The next day, the lake dropped but it wasn't cause for excitement as Sunday showed no change.
However, by the morning of Monday, June 12th, the levels dropped by .3 centimetres and kept dropping. As of Saturday, July 29th, the lake level has returned to its target measure of 342.486 m (barring that .006 metre).
Have a look at how long it took for the levels to drop and the amounts it dropped each day - ranging from .3 centimetres to 3.8 centimetres.
This marks our last recording of Okanagan Lake's water levels.
Time to enjoy the lake!
(UPDATE: July 28, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
After the 2.8 centimetre drop in the past 24 hour period, the lake level is now at 342.499 metres, a mere 1.9 centimetres to the full pool level of 342.480 metres.
Tomorrow will likely be our last day for the daily updates on Okanagan Lake flood levels. We have been providing daily updates on the flooding since the City of Kelowna, City of West Kelowna and the Fintry Delta in the Regional District of Central Okanagan declared a state of emergency on Saturday, May 6th, 2017. You can go through all of our daily updates by scrolling to the bottom of this article and clicking the link to see the previous updates.
The lake peaked on Friday, June 9th, 2017 at 343.251 metres. The information below starts with the first drop in levels.
(UPDATE: July 27, 2017 @ 7:00 a.m.)
A drop of 1.2 centimetres over the last 24 hours brings Okanagan Lake to 342.527 metres, now just 4.7 centimetres above full pool. Our daily updates will cease once we get to the 342.480 metre level. It has been a long slow road to recovery for the big lake.
(UPDATE: July 26, 2017 @ 7:00 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake is now at 342.539 metres after the 2.1 centimetre drop in the past 24 hours. We are now 5.9 centimetres above the full pool target.
(UPDATE: July 25, 2017 @ 7:00 a.m.)
A big drop of 2.7 centimetres brings the lake level down to 342.560 metres bringing us to 8.0 centimetres from the full pool target.
We are now in the final countdown to the green light for Okanagan Lake with only single digits in front of us.
We have selected a photo from a local great photographer (@dahul) to start the countdown.
(UPDATE: July 24, 2017 @ 6:30 a.m.)
The level of Okanagan Lake at 4:25 a.m. was 342.587 metres, 10.7 centimetres above the full pool target. At this rate we will likely see the green light for Okanagan lake by this weekend, just in time for Centre of Gravity.
These are the daily lake levels since they peaked on Friday, June 9th:
(UPDATE: July 23, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
A drop of 1.8 centimetres in the past 24 hours brings the Okanagan Lake level down to 342.603 metres. We are now 12.3 centimetres over the full pool target of 342.480 metres.
KelownaNow went down to the beaches to see how the locals and tourists were enjoying them.
These are the daily lake levels since they peaked on Friday, June 9th:
(UPDATE: July 22, 2017 @ 7:10 a.m.)
The Okanagan Lake level is now at 342.621 metres after a drop of 1.6 centimetres in the past 24 hours. We are now 14.1 centimetres over the target of 342.480 metres.
Full flood demobilization efforts continue as 125-member crews conduct sandbag removals along private property in areas in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country no longer under threat of flooding and will be expanding into Peachland and Oyama next week. To make sure sandbags are recorded for pick up, Emergency Management BC has provided a quick and easy sandbag recovery application, available at www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared/flood-recovery.
Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied into any creeks, lakes, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water supply, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities.
Do-it-yourself sandbag removals
Residents wanting to remove sandbags at their own cost should take precautions while removing sandbags and working around stagnant water. Sandbags that have been sitting in water could contain mould. Residents should wear N95 respirators, nitrile gloves and rubber boots while working and should wash hands and clothes well after handling the bags.
Residents can continue to support flood recovery efforts by bringing sandbags to the street front for pickup and disposal. Burlap and polypropylene bags should be divided into separate piles at the curb.
Barges operators continue to remove unnatural debris from the shores of local lakes including unclaimed broken docks, unregistered boats, garbage and barrels, along with large trees or stumps. Damaged docks and pilings still in place are the responsibility of the property owner.
Any debris that residents do not want removed should be clearly marked with “Do Not Remove”, so crews know to leave it behind. This may include sections of dock residents are hoping to repair. If possible, use fluorescent orange flagging tape or paint.
Rebuilding of docks
All residents require authorization from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in order to repair or replace damaged docks. More information is available by contacting the FrontCounter BC at 1-877-355-3222 or online.
For more information on the above go to www.cordemergency.ca
(UPDATE: July 21, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
The level is now 342.637 metres after a 3.8 centimetre fall. We are now 15.7 centimetres over the full pool target. With 10 days left in July, we should see the green light to resume all lake activities before the month is out.
(UPDATE: July 20, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
In the past 24 hours, the Okanagan Lake level has receded 1.0 centimetres to 342.675 metres. We are now 19.5 centimetres from the full pool target.
(UPDATE: July 19, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake levels dropped 2.3 centimetres over the last 24 hour period to 342.685 metres. We are now 20.5 centimetres (8 inches) over what is deemed to be a full pool in Okanagan Lake. At the current rate, the July 29th weekend should have the level at or near the full pool target.
While there is still a #NoWake ask on the lake, you can sure enjoy the beaches.
The final evacuation orders have been rescinded for five properties in the Killiney Beach area of the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area that were impacted by Okanagan Lake flooding:
9415 Hodges Road
9425 Hodges Road
9435 Hodges Road
9445 Hodges Road
9467 Kilkenny Place
No flood related Evacuation Orders remain in effect in the Central Okanagan at this time.
(UPDATE: July 18, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake daily update: Avoid the backcountry and head to the beaches
A small drop of 0.6 centimetres in Okanagan Lake in the past 24 hours.
(UPDATE: July 17, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
A big drop in the last 24 hour period of 3.9 centimetres bringing the new level to 342.714 metres. We are now just 23.4 centimetres from the targeted full pool level of 342.480 metres.
We have consistently taken our readings at 4:25 am to provide 24 hour readings.
(UPDATE: July 16, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
In the last 24 hours, the data shows a 1.0 centimetre drop over the past 24 hours bringing the level down to 342.753 metres, still 27.3 centimetres over the full pool target.
(UPDATE: July 15, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
A 2.1 centimetre drop over the past 24 hours brings the level to 342.763 metres, 28.3 centimetres above the green light target to resume all activities on Okanagan Lake. For now have fun with #NoWake activities.
It's going to be a hot one today with temperatures to 32 C. BC Wildfire is asking people to stay out of the back country due to extreme fire hazard, so the beaches are a great place to go.
The below is an inviting photo of Gyro Beach taken this morning at 6 a.m.
These are the daily lake levels since they peaked on Friday, June 9th:
(UPDATE: July 14, 2017 @ 6:40 a.m.)
Another 2.0 centimetres over the last 24 hour period brings Okanagan Lake to 342.784 metres, still 30 centimetres over what is deemed full pool. (342.480)
"At this point, the message really still is you need to check CORD Emergency and see the boating map and make sure you're in areas that can have low wake or no wake. That's quite important for people to still do at this point," said Laura Wilson, communications for the City of Kelowna.
The City and the Province are shooting for a target of 342.48 metres on Okanagan Lake in order to resume regular summer activities. (Boating in the Okanagan should be back by early August)
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CORD Emergency has a map of where low wake or no wake boating is allowed on Okanagan Lake, from Vernon to Naramata.
These are the daily lake levels since they peaked on Friday, June 9th:
(UPDATE: July 13, 2017 @ 6:30 a.m.)
Over the last 24 hours, Okanagan Lake receded 1.2 centimetres making the level at 4:25 a.m. 342.804 metres.
(UPDATE: July 12, 2017 @ 6:30 a.m.)
A 2.6 centimetre drop in the last 24 hours brings Okanagan Lake to 342.816 metres, still 33.6 centimetres above what is deemed full pool.
We continue the slow march to normalcy for Okanagan Lake.
(UPDATE: July 11, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
The drop in the past 24 hours amounted to 2.2 centimetres bringing the level down to 342.842 metres.
(UPDATE: July 10, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
A small drop of 0.8 centimetres over the past 24 hours brings the level down to 342.864 metres. It has now been a month of declines and we are still 38 centimetres above full pool.
The state of emergency in BC caused by the wildfires has become the dominant news story. With that said we will stay with the daily updates on the Okanagan Lake updates until we are down to what is deemed a full pool (342.48 metres).
Some of the docks did survive and are now above the water level as pictured below.
(UPDATE: July 9, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
As of 4:25 a.m. Okanagan Lake dropped another 2.0 centimetres to bring the level to 342.872, which is still 39 centimetres above what the province deems to be a full pool for Okanagan Lake.
Work continues to remove the flood protection barriers along the lakeshore.
(UPDATE: July 8, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake dropped 2.4 centimetres over the past 24 hours to bring the level down to 342.892 metres.
Through the weekend, flood protection will be removed on private properties along sections of shoreline in Lake Country and West Kelowna.
In Lake Country, BC Wildfire Crew contractors will be removing sandbag defences from the Bottom Wood Lake Road, Turtle Bay and Woodsdale areas, while in West Kelowna, flood protection and sandbags will be cleared from the Okanagan Lake waterfront in the Casa Loma and Pritchard areas. This work in West Kelowna is expected to continue through Tuesday.
Work is expected to take place between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Residents in these areas will be notified via electronic roadside signboards, through local media and the Emergency Operations Centre communication channels.
The interactive map at www.cordemergency.ca/map has been updated to show where and when crews are working to demobilize sandbags, including the Lake Country and West Kelowna locations on private property.
Crews will continue working through the weekend on removing flood protection on public lands in low risk flood areas along the waterfront in Kelowna and Peachland.
Waterfront property owners with sandbag walls can begin to lower them, but should keep a wall that protects against wind and wave action to a height of 60 centimetres above the current lake level. Residents removing sandbags and working around stagnant water should also take precautions to protect themselves, by wearing gloves and rubber boots, as well as washing hands regularly.
Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied into any creeks, lakes, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outline in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water supply, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities.
By collecting information about properties that sustained flood damage, the recovery team will better understand the magnitude of flooding and it will assist in preventing future flooding. Officials will also be able to understand how flooding has impacted the community and be able to connect residents with helpful resources.
Through the weekend, residents and visitors boating on Central Okanagan lakes are encouraged to keep their wakes down and respect that any wave action can cause shoreline erosion and potentially impact waterfront flood protection. Boaters can view the Boating Wake maps at www.cordemergency.ca/map, which indicate no and low wake boating areas. Once lake levels reach more reasonable levels, regular boating activities can resume.
(UPDATE: July 7, 2017 @ 6:50 a.m.) - Removal of all the Okanagan Lake flood protection will take at least another month
The level of Okanagan Lake continued its slow descent with a 1.5 centimetre drop over the last 24 hours taking it down to 342.916 metres.
(UPDATE: July 6, 2017 @ 6:55 a.m.)
The level of Okanagan Lake dropped 1.9 centimetres overnight to 342.931 metres.
The demobilization of flood protection is underway in the Central Okanagan.
"It took 160 B.C. Wildfire Service Crews six weeks to deploy the two million sandbags, five-kilometres of bladder dams and 1.3 kilometres of gabion baskets," stated CORD Emergency. "It will take at least another month to remove all the sandbags."
Raw video of beach cleanup taken by the City Park tunnel by Paul Clark
(UPDATE: July 5, 2017 @ 6:45 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake continues to fall, now less than half a metre over full pool
The level of Okanagan Lake dropped 1.2 centimetres overnight to 342.950 metres.
(UPDATE: July 4, 2017 @ 7:30 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake dropped another 2.1 centimetres over the past 24 hours to 342.962 metres.
Interior Health has tested the water at numerous Okanagan beaches and have given it the 'OK' to swim in.
The lake is still nearly half a metre over full pool, but the beaches are finally starting to look like they normally do at this time of year.
If the lake level continues to fall at an average of 1.5 centimetres a day, it should take around 30 days for it to drop under the full pool number of 343.48 metres.
(UPDATE: July 3, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake dropped another 1.6 centimetres over the past 24 hours to 342.983 metres.
Lots of people out enjoying the lake on the Canada Day long weekend with a #NoWake attitude.
(UPDATE: July 2, 2017 @ 7:30 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake is now below the projected flood level mark of 343.000 metres. A drop of 2.0 centimetres in the last 24 hours brings the level to 342.999 centimetres. We are still 51.9 centimetres above the Ministry full pool target of 342.480 metres.
(UPDATE: June 30th, 2017 @ 6:30 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake dropped another 1.4 centimetres in the past 24 hours. At this rate we will be below the first anticipated flood level of 343 metres in the next few days.
Flood protection barriers have started to come down at beaches across the Central Okanagan.
For more pics, check out our story - 14 photos of flood barriers being removed from Kelowna's downtown beaches
(UPDATE: June 29th, 2017 @ 6:30 a.m.) - Lake down another 1.5cm, some protective barriers will come down prior to Canada Day
After going down 2.2 centimetres between Tuesday and Wednesday, the biggest drop yet, the lake fell another 1.5 centimetres between Wednesday and Thursday.
Okanagan Lake now sits at 343.05 metres, 57 centimetres above full pool.
There's still a chance that some barriers will be removed for the Canada Day long weekend.
(UPDATE: June 28th, 2017 @ 6:20 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake's water levels continue to drop at an encouraging speed.
Okanagan Lake at 4:25 a.m was at 343.065 metres, a drop of 2.2 centimetres over the last 24 hour period. This is the largest decline in a 24 hour period since lake levels began to fall on June 10th, 2017.
In preparation for the long weekend, crews will begin removing protective measures where safe to do so, along parks and beaches including those within West Kelowna, Peachland and Kelowna.
(UPDATE: June 27, 2017 @ 6:15 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake now down more than 15cms since peak levels on June 9th
Okanagan Lake continues its downward trend, but the current high levels still pose a threat to vulnerable properties when combined with strong winds.
In the last 24 hours, the level has dropped 1.1 centimetres to 343.087 metres.
(UPDATE: June 26, 2017 @ 6:25 a.m.) - Another day, another one centimetre drop in Okanagan Lake's water levels.
The lake has now dropped more than 15cms since hitting its peak of 343.251 metres on Friday, June 9th as it slowly makes its way back to normal levels.
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(UPDATE: June 25, 2017 @ 6:25 a.m.)
Another step closer to getting our beaches back.
We saw a drop of 1.5 centimetres over the last 24 hour period bringing the new level down to 343.108 metres.
If that trend continues there may be some hope to see some of the protective barriers removed near Canada Day.
(UPDATE: June 24, 2017 @ 7:25 a.m.)
Okanagan Lake real time data this morning shows the lake down 1.7 centimetres over the last 24 hour period. The level at 4:25 a.m. was 343.123 metres. We are showing a slow and steady decline in lake levels.
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(UPDATE: June 23, 2017 @ 7:20 a.m.)
Over the last 24 hours, Okanagan Lake has receded 0.7 centimetres to bring the level at 4:25 a.m. to 343.140 metres.
In preparation for further recovery efforts, the public can help inventory the number, location and type of sandbags on private and public property in the Central Okanagan by using a new online application from Emergency Management BC (EMBC).
(UPDATE: June 22, 2017 @ 7:05 a.m.)
Another good drop in levels over the past 24 hours brings the level down to 343.147 metres. The 24-hour reduction was 1.5 centimetres, making for a 3 centimetre drop over the past 48 hours.
According to Tom Wilson, communications manager for the City of Kelowna, "When Okanagan Lake gets below 343.0 level, the large bladder dams and gabion cages full of sand can be removed. But even then, it is not advised that boats travel at speeds that cause big wakes until the lake level is below what is called full-pool (342.48)."
The Cook Road boat launch in Kelowna has reopened, while the Water Street boat launch and Sutherland Bay launch remain closed.
For those that still look at everything in inches, it takes 2.54 centimetres to make one inch. The internet is full of converters, which you can find here.
(UPDATE: June 21, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m.) - Lake level falls 1.5cm for the 2nd straight day
The drop for the last 24 hours is 1.5 centimetres, making the new level 343.162 metres as of 4:25 a.m.
KelownaNow did three stories flood-related stories yesterday:
(UPDATE: June 20th @ 7:30 a.m.)
Another a small drop for the Okanagan Lake. The level is now at 343.177 metres with the 0.4 centimetre drop recorded in the past 24 hours.
For those that still look at everything in inches, it takes 2.54 centimetres to make one inch. The internet is full of converters, you can click here one.
Saturday morning June 10, 2017: 343.243 (a drop of 0.8 centimetre)
Sunday morning June 11, 2017: 343.243 (no change)
Monday morning June 12, 2017: 343.240 (a drop of 0.3 centimetres)
Tuesday morning June 13, 2017: 343.234 (a drop of 0.6 centimetres)
Wednesday morning June 14, 2017: 343.218 (a drop of 1.6 centimetres)
Thursday morning June 15, 2017: 343.214 (a drop of 0.4 centimetres)
Friday Morning June 16, 2017 343.207 (a drop of 0.7 centimetres)
Saturday morning June 17, 2017: 343.203 (a drop of 0.4 centimetres)
Sunday morning June 18, 2017: 343.184 (a drop of 1.9 centimetres)
Monday morning June 19, 2017: 343.181 (a drop of 0.3 centimetres)
Tuesday morning June 20, 2017: 343.177 (a drop of 0.4 centimetres)
(UPDATE: June 19th @ 6:30 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake level chart looks promising
Okanagan Lake levels continue their slow decline from historic flood levels. Over the last 24 hours there was a drop of 0.3 centimetres or 3 millimetres.
One question we are often asked is why are some outlets reporting slightly different numbers on a daily basis? The short answer is that they are taking their readings at different times of the day and many times over different time periods. We have been consistently been reporting per 24 hour period at 4:25 a.m.
The other question is why do increases and decreases differ day to day? A number of factors come into play with this. One of the main reasons is that the lake is a fluid body and the readings are affected by that. If you look at the table data for the real-time recordings you will see ups and downs for every five-minute reporting, but there is an overall trend in the numbers and data must be looked at over longer periods to see the trend. Lower lows or higher highs over time make a trend.
Keep the questions coming! You can send them to News@KelownaNow.com, no question is too silly.
(UPDATE: June 18th @ 7:00 a.m.)
Over the past 24 hours, we recorded the biggest one-day drop so far with a 1.9 centimetre drop to take the lake level to 343.184 metres. This makes it eight of the last nine days where we are seeing declines. We are still 70 centimetres over what is called a full pool for Okanagan Lake. The full pool target is 342.480 metres. Keep in mind that the full pool number is a number set by the ministry and does not mean any number above it means flooding. Inland properties began removal of flood protection on June 16, 2017. Lakeshore properties are still vulnerable to weather events and should keep flood protection barriers in place until lake levels subside.
It will be great to get back to showcasing photos of our beautiful Okanagan Lake where it does not look to be so threatening.
(UPDATE: June 17th @ 7:00 a.m.) - Okanagan Lake continues downward trend
Okanagan Lake's water levels dropped again in the past 24 hours. Since yesterday, there's been a 0.4-centimetre drop to bring the level down to 343.203 metres. The forecast calls for lighter winds today with little rain in the forecast for the next 14 days. Less rain should help the long, slow process of draining the lake from its record high levels.
Wind continues to the be a threatening variable when combined with the high lake levels. Inland properties that were threatened by flooding, were told yesterday that flood protection measures could come down.
(UPDATE: June 16th @ 6:45 a.m.) - Lake levels drop for the 6th time in 7 days
Despite a few showers on Thursday, lake levels decreased for the sixth time in the past week.
Okanagan Lake dropped 0.7 centimetres between Thursday morning and Friday morning and now sits at 343.207 metres.
Winds picked up at times on Thursday, but they never lived up to Environment Canada's 60km/h predictions, which was a nice break for Kelowna's flood barriers.
Friday's forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 22°C, as well as winds around 20km/h with a small chance of showers this afternoon.
(Original story: June 15th @ 7:30 a.m.) - The Okanagan has been rocked by flooding for more than a month now.
Lake levels have steadily risen from 342.68 metres on May 15th to a peak of 343.251m on June 9th.
Since then, however, lake levels finally appear to be going in the right direction.
Five of the last six days have seen the lake level drop, including a 1.6 centimetre drop between the mornings of Tuesday, June 13th and Wednesday, June 14th.
Here's a breakdown of how lake levels rose during May and into June, before they hit a peak on June 9th.
To find out what evacuation orders are still in place, check out this map on the CORD website.
Environment Canada has put a special weather statement in effect that calls for strong winds in the Okanagan on Thursday, which you can learn more about here.
Despite slowly improving lake levels, officials are asking residents to keep sandbags in place and even reinforce certain barriers until told otherwise, but you can learn more about that and what the cleanup may entail here.
We will update this story as information becomes available and as water levels change.
To see our flood story containing updates between May 15th and June 14th, click this link.