Okanagan Lake is actually sitting lower than normal, compared to the spring of 2017 when the lake rose up to these Penticton beach statues. (Mark Brett - Black Press)

Dry summer anticipated for Okanagan

Flooding risks continue this spring while drought expected as temperatures increase

Area creeks and rivers might be swelling now, but it’s looking like water could be scarce come summer.

“The predictions are looking drier and drier for summer,” said Anna Warwick Sears with the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

The drought monitor for Washington State (and the Okanogan County) are ramping up their projections for a hydrologic drought this summer.

“For us, this signifies that we may experience lower rainfall and drier soils than normal, especially in the southern portions of the valley,” said Warwick Sears in her report to the board May 5.

Snowpack from the mid-elevation Brenda Mines is almost entirely melted as of May 5. The observation station on the west side was 73 per cent of normal on April 22.

Meanwhile, there’s still a large amount of snow above Mission Creek, which was 135 per cent of normal on April 22. That could result on ongoing flood risks downstream.

“We all need to keep on our toes especially those living on the east side of the valley,” said Warwick Sears.

Environment Canada is also calling for 20-30 millimetres of rain this week followed by a warm weekend with the mercury reaching mid to high 20s, which will see further melt.

“We have a storm headed our way for Wednesday, into Thursday,” said meteorologist Doug Lundquist.

In the longer term, Lundquist said June can be particularly rainy. While no one can predict long-term precipitation, Lundquist said, temperatures are forecast to be higher than average for summer.

For those in and around Okanagan Lake, the water levels is 75 centimetres below full pool. The province continues to draw down Okanagan Lake level releases into the Okanagan River channel.

But there is significant snow in the northern end of the valley and Kalamalka Lake is high.

READ MORE: High river advisory issued fro Vernon, Lumby, Winfield

READ MORE: B.C. prepares for emergencies, evacuations under COVID-19


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