Rising Okanagan snowpack raises flooding concerns

Kelowna Capital News – February 8, 2018

There has been an ominous rise in snowpack levels across the Okanagan Valley, according to the BC River Forecast Centre.

David Campbell, section head of the River Forecast Centre, said snowpack levels as of Feb. 1 in the Okanagan are 131 per cent of normal, and in the Similkameen that level is 135 per cent.

“There is certainly some concern there as we see those figures start to creep up with having seen about two-thirds of the snow we expect to see this winter season,” Campbell said.

“It’s certainly something we’ll have to watch closely. In the back of our minds was that last year, we were at 78 per cent of normal and we saw how things rapidly changed in March and into April.”

Last year, concerns of a drought year caused the dam release from Okanagan Lake to be slowed down, but the sudden change with rain and snow through March and April left the dam unable to keep up with the rising water level.

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