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What's happening with Mission Creek's water levels

If you've walked along the Mission Creek Greenway, you may have noticed a slight rise in the levels of Mission Creek.

While the levels of Mission Creek are starting to rise ever so slightly, Shaun Reimer, operator of the Penticton and Kalamalka Dam, says its normal for this time of year.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow </who> Mission Creek.

It's also common for the mid-elevation snow to start melting and enter the river.

In fact, don't be surprised if the lake levels begin to rise as well.

It's what he calls the "natural condition."

"Mission Creek is the largest contributing tributary to Okanagan Lake so that puts the most water than any other creek into Okanagan Lake," he explained.

<who> Source: Government of Canada </who> Water levels and discharge of Mission Creek from Apr. 1 to Apr. 20, 2018.

It also has some of the highest elevations of snow surrounding it.

But to prepare for this year's exceptionally high snowpacks, Reimer's been dropping the lake by about half a centimetre for the past month.

"If you go back on the record in the middle of April is when the lake starts to rise and so we have tried to build in that room to absorb that high snowpack," he explained.

But whether or not it translates into a flood situation, depends on how gradually the melt occurs and how much precipitation falls over the next few months.

"Certainly the temperatures that they are talking about now are not problematic particularly when the snow gets cool in the evening and particularly it gets cool a little bit higher up."

In the immediate forecast, meteorologist, Wesla English, says the Valley could see showers Friday and Saturday with highs between 15 and 16 degrees over the weekend.

<who> Source: KelownaNow </who> Forecast for Apr. 20 to 22, 2018.

The best case scenario is if the lower and mid-elevation snow starts to melt now, says Reimer.

"One of the worst cases would be if it stays very cool and then in May it got very hot and then that mid-elevation and high elevation snow all come down at once, so it's better to move up the mountain in terms of a snow line."

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow

In the meantime, Reimer says to see the levels rise is normal for this time of year. Other than that, he'll be keeping an eye on the snowmelt, weather conditions and continuing to let water out to match the conditions.

"At some point, we have to accept the fact that the lake will start to rise again and of course that is the natural situation and natural condition," he said.



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Thu
14℃


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13℃


Sat
16℃


Sun
15℃


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14℃


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14℃




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