The City is taking proactive measures to prepare for any potential flood risk during the spring freshet. Due to a higher than average snowpack on the eastern Okanagan hillsides, steps are being taken now to support high-risk areas.
Update as of May 7, 2020: No immediate flood risk to Ellis and Penticton creeks or Okanagan Lake. Penticton's Emergency Operations Centre is monitoring conditions daily and will provide an update if this situation changes.
How We’re Responding
Emergency flood prevention work has been completed at Ellis Creek in an effort to eliminate flood risk during the spring freshet.
The City of Penticton was granted a Change Approval from the Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources and an Emergency Authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to remove gravel and rock from the bottom of the creek in the area from Main Street to the east access to the Penticton Regional Hospital.
This will allow water to move more freely throughout the channel, greatly reducing flood risk along this stretch of Ellis Creek.
Penticton’s EOC is actively tracking snowpack levels, creek flow, temperatures, precipitation and weather forecasts and monitoring the 2020 flood situation through regular Provincial flood calls.
The City has contacted residents and land owners within the areas of Ellis and Penticton creeks to warn them of the potential flood risk.
We’re asking those near Ellis Creek in areas where bank erosion is an issue to please move their personal items away from the river banks.
Steps taken so far:
- Developed a plan to address 2020 flooding amid COVID-19.
- Started making sandbags for City and RDOS use.
- Planned deployment of materials at Ellis Creek.
- Determined the City’s flood resources.
- Completed advance preparation for Carmi flooding.
- Determined an action plan for Spiller Road Campbell Mountain Landfill flooding.
- Established a self-serve sandbag service at Fire Hall 202 (285 Dawson Avenue).
- Sent letters to homes adjacent to Penticton and Ellis Creek advising occupiers of the potential for flooding.
- The EOC has identified contractors who are available to respond as needed.
The City has contacted residents and land owners within the area of Penticton Creek to warn them of a potential flood risk, although concerns are not high right now.
Once flows increase, the City will be monitoring known trouble spots. The Emergency Operations Centre is closely reviewing snowpack levels, creek flow, temperatures, precipitation and weather forecasts and monitoring the 2020 flood situation through regular Provincial flood calls.
Flooding at Okanagan Lake is not anticipated to be an issue due to advance work completed by the Province of BC to lower the lake level.
Residents are reminded to keep a safe distance away from the creeks, which are expected to move dangerously fast during as water volumes increase.
How to Protect Your Property
If your residence is in a low-lying area and is at risk of flooding, sandbags can be used to protect your property. To fill your own sandbags, you can drop by our self-serve facility located behind Fire Hall No. 202 (285 Dawson Ave).
Please remember to use social distancing while filling your sandbags; one person at a time.
Visit the Fire Department’s Emergency Preparedness page for information about steps to take to prepare for any emergency. It also provides details about what to do during an emergency or an evacuation order.
Also review B.C.'s Flood Preparedness Guide for tips for how to prepare your home and property for flood.
Flooding is a common, naturally occurring event in B.C. If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate.
Here are a few things you can do to the exterior of your home:
- Enhance landscaping so water drains away from the foundation.
- Ensure water from downspouts drains away from your residence.
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- Maintain your perimeter drains regularly.
- Keep nearby storm drains clear of debris.
During an Emergency
For information about emergency procedures, visit our Emergency Updates page. We'll also be posting information to this page as well as the City's social media channels.
An Emergency Reception Centre has been set up at 325 Power Street for those who may be evacuated from their home. Please note that extra precautions are being taken at this facility due to COVID-19.
All evacuees are required to check in at the reception centre, where you will connect with social services to help you during the emergency. This can include food, lodging, clothing and emotional support.
In the case of an emergency, try these sources for updates:
If your home is adjacent to Ellis or Penticton Creeks, we would like to hear from you.
Please provide a name and phone number by April 24, 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can contact you about flood planning and activities in your area.
To report flooding, contact the City at 250-490-2400 (after hours call 250-490-2324).
Call 911 if you feel your personal safety is at risk.