(by Kate Bouey)
Fingers are crossed as the temperatures heat up across the Okanagan and snow starts to melt in the hills.
Shaun Reimer of the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources says experts are hoping that mid- and high-level snowpacks don’t melt all at once.
“It’s better to get some of that lower or mid-elevation snow initated now and moving through the system and later in May and June for the higher elevation snow to come down,” Reimer said in a news conference Monday afternoon.
Last year, the melting snowpack caused serious flooding across the Okanagan Valley.
Area lakes are currently below last year’s levels.
Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes have lots of room to absorb snow melt at this time, said Reimer, who pointed out that Kal Lake is currently 24 centimetres below the level it was at at the same time last year.
“The lake will generally come up quite quickly and then the outflows, in order to discharge all the water from the system that we’re going to need to stop it from going over our operating range, is going to have to come up as well,” he warned.
David Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said the snowmelt would start at the mid-level range in earnest this week due to higher temperatures.