Kootenay Lake seen from Gyro Park in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kootenay Lake seen from Gyro Park in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kootenay Lake could flood if temperatures rise

Lake levels are increasing because of above-normal snowpack and delayed melt

There is an increased possibility that flooding on Kootenay Lake could occur during late May or early June if temperatures rise substantially, according to a news release from Fortis BC and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

The cause of the increased lake levels is the above-normal snowpack and delayed melt.

“As of May 19, the lake level at Queen’s Bay was 1743.52 feet,” the news release states. “It’s expected to rise two to three feet over the next week. Although lake levels are forecasted to remain below the 1752-feet flood level, the lake is subject to large natural inflows of water as a result of melting snowpack and precipitation.”

This means conditions could change suddenly over the next few weeks.

Power generation facilities like FortisBC’s Corra Linn Dam play a key role in managing lake levels. Since the beginning of March, FortisBC says it has discharged the maximum amount of water from Corra Linn.

However, Grohman Narrows, a natural geological formation located upstream of FortisBC facilities, is restricting water flowing out of Kootenay Lake.

“Residents and businesses along Kootenay Lake are encouraged to keep a close eye on lake levels over this period, assess what impact rising lake levels may have on their property and be prepared in the event there is a sudden rise in lake level.”

FortisBC provides daily updates on current and forecasted lake levels. For the most current information and to sign up for lake level notices, visit fortisbc.com/lakelevel.

“Now is the time to be flood prepared. Residents should take the necessary steps to protect their home and property. Know the risks, have a plan and have an emergency kit,” the news release states.

For more information and sandbag locations go to rdck.ca/befloodprepared. To sign up for emergency notifications on floods and other local emergencies in the RDCK, visit rdck.ca/emergencynotification. To report a flood emergency contact the provincial coordination centre at 1-800-663-3456.