The Fraser River at Chilliwack on May 10, 2018. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Fraser Valley in wait-and-see mode for flood risk from freshet

River Forecast Centre predicts “bank full conditions” by next week

While the combination of high snowpack, warm weather and a heavy rainfall has led to a worst-case flooding scenario in the B.C. interior, the Lower Mainland is left waiting to see just how high the Fraser River will get.

And the head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre said Friday recent extreme weather has driven rivers up “much, much earlier than normal.”

David Campbell said while the hot weather with rain increases the risks, temperature alone is a concern.

“Hot is in and of itself concerning over the next seven days as water is rising throughout the region making its way down into the Fraser River system, which rises fairly rapidly from headwater down to the Lower Mainland,” Campbell said in a conference call Friday.

Campbell said the Mission gauge – the measure used by most communities to monitor river levels – was at five metres on Friday. The 5.5-metre mark signals “bank full conditions,” and Campbell said that should be surpassed by the long weekend, pushing to the six- to 6.5-metre range by late next week.

By Friday, the river at Hope was running at about 9,000 cubic metres per second (m3/s), a rate that should surpass 10,000 m3/s by the weekend and hit 12,000 m3/s by the end of next week.

The provincial government said Thursday it is encouraging local governments and First Nations communities along the lower Fraser River to prepare for potential flooding,

“The lower Fraser has not seen this combination of weather conditions – including high temperatures, snow melt and riverflow – for a number of years,” according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

An evacuation alert was issued by the City of Chilliwack on Wednesday for six properties at Carey Point, an area outside the city’s dike system.

• READ MORE: City of Chilliwack issues evacuation alert to properties outside dike

The City said the move was precautionary, noting that conditions can change rapidly during the spring freshet. Residents in the alert area are being contacted by city officials.

The City is recommending they be prepared to leave the area on short notice, and director of engineering David Blain said Friday the residents have been provided with sandbags.

As some communities, such as Grand Forks, are experiencing extreme flooding, some people have evoked the massive flood of 1948, which devastated Chilliwack.

Blain said, however, that not only is that level of water not forecast to come down the Fraser, but the city’s diking infrastructure has greatly improved in the 70 years since then.

While even record flows should not affect the city, it’s the areas outside the dike system that are at most risk. Even there, most of the homes should be high enough, according to Blain. Carey Point is certainly at risk, but the 20-or-so homes north of Minter Country Garden on the west side of Young Road have remained unaffected even at the highest water levels in the last 50 years.

Blain said those homes are built high enough that they were unaffected in 2012, and even when the Mission gauge hit seven metres in 1972, those homes remained dry.

The river level is a dynamic situation with many factors playing into it. Continue to visit www.theprogress.com for updates on the water levels on the Fraser River.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack residents outside the dike told to be ready to evacuate (June 2012)


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Highest earning staff at Fraser-Cascade School District made public

Also board looks into seat belts on school buses, Marv Cope gets road in his memory

Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Dale on filming horror-thriller in Hope

In an exclusive interview, Dale explains why the town plays a large role in Antlers

Tarl rocks Silver Chalice Saturday

After spending summers in Hope visiting his grandmother, musician Tarl returns to… Continue reading

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Vancouver Police look for man in connection to ‘sexually motivated’ assault

Woman says man followed her into an apartment building

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Most Read