Water levels at the Hope gauge have risen sharply since May 21, as the Fraser River freshet begins in earnest.

Hope activates emergency operations centre as Fraser River rises

Fraser River reaches 8,500 cubic metres per second at Hope gauge

With rising Fraser River water levels, the District of Hope has activated their emergency operations centre.

At noon Thursday, May 28 the district announced the centre had been activated to monitor the spring freshet. The announcement follows a day after the Fraser Valley Regional District initiated their own centre to a Level 1 freshet watch, a monitoring phase.

The river gauge at Hope has showed a steady increase in cubic metres per second, with a sharp increase from around 6,500 on May 19, to over 8,500 on May 28. While water levels remain high, there are currently no evacuation alerts or orders in the municipality.

The Rotary Trails have been closed as of May 22, due to the high water levels along the Fraser. “Stay clear of fast moving water and respect any trail and road closures as a result,” the district warned.

In a late April interview with the Hope Standard, Hope’s emergency program coordinator Tom DeSorcy said the district expected a normal to high rise in the Fraser this year. This would include areas that are typically impacted by high water levels, such as Wardle Street, experiencing overflow from the river.

Read more: Normal to high water levels expected this year: District of Hope

“We know the properties that will likely face evacuation alerts,” he said. “Our messaging to the people is to be prepared that… we could be issuing evacuation alerts for people, to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.”

If needed, the district would request a gabion basket damming system which it has used in the past. If evacuation is required, DeSorcy said there are locations at the district’s disposal to be able to open evacuation centres that allow for physical distancing.

Across the Fraser River basin, snowpacks are at historic highs, around 20 to 50 per cent avove average. These levels have led hydrologists to predict a potential for flooding in the lower parts of the Fraser. This depends, however, on several climate and weather factors.

Read more: Largest April snowpack in decades poses high flood risk to Fraser Valley


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