Flood emergency centre opens in Penticton as Okanagan Lake levels rise

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VANCOUVER — An emergency operations centre has been opened in Penticton, B.C., in response to rising waters levels on Okanagan Lake.

A statement from the city says the lake level is still within the normal range, but rain is in the forecast and the snow melt has been delayed by weeks.

The statement says the proactive measure will allow the city to access resources and co-ordinate its efforts.

Centre director Anthony Haddad says they recognize it will be a slow-moving event, and opening the centre will give them time to prepare for protective measures.

The city will start sourcing barriers and sand to protect the lakeshore, and residents on low-lying properties along the lake are urged to prepare for possible flooding.

In the central coast region, the River Forecast Centre has upgraded a flood watch for the Bella Coola and Dean rivers and their surrounding tributaries, saying snowmelt is leading to high flows with periods of rain or showers in the forecast.

Flood watches are also posted for the north Thompson and Quesnel rivers, along with tributaries of the south Thompson in the Shuswap region.

High streamflow advisories are in place for the south Thompson River itself, the Nicola River and waterways in the west and east Kootenay regions.

A flood warning covering the Liard River and its tributaries between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake in northeastern B.C. is unchanged.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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