UPDATE: Flood watch continues Saturday as water level hits 6.36 metres
The Fraser River water level continued to rise on Saturday.
At 1 p.m. The gauge at the Mission Bridge read 6.36 metres.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer said the day started with a level of 6.34 and is expected to hit 6.56 metres by nightfall.
“After that it is expected to rise slightly over the next four days,” said Helmer.
The river is forecast to hit the 6.65 metre mark.
The evacuation of the unprotected areas of Glen Valley and Matsqui Prairie is continuing Officials are working with a land owner and the Ministry of Agriculture to address any issues with some of the livestock in the area
Other than that, Helmer said things are “status quo” as crews continue to monitor the river.
He said once the river hits the 6.65 metre level, it is expected to start going down.
“Then we'll have to see what happens when the next pulse comes down.”
On Friday the City of Abbotsforddeclared a state of local emergency for the unprotected areas of Glen Valley and Matsqui Prairie (between the Matsqui Dyke and the Fraser River).
The Abbotsford Police Department delivered evacuation orders to residents.
"Rising river levels on the Fraser River are jeopardizing evacuation routes in these areas and has led us to issue evacuation orders to some residents,” said Abbotsford Fire Chief Don Beer.
“When an evacuation order is issued by the local authority, people should leave the area immediately. An evacuation order identifies a high risk of threat to life and property. "
Evacuees must register their family members’ names and alternate location where they can be contacted. Evacuees should call the City’s Flood information line at 604-846-5688 to register or report to the reception centre.
The reception centre for evacuees is located at Fire Hall #1 at 32270 George Ferguson Way.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer said 20 homes are currently being impacted by the evacuation order.
"It is an optional evacuation, it's not a mandatory evacuation," he said.
Helmer added that residents are advised if they don't evacuate, first responders may not be able to assist them if conditions get worse.
He said the order was given to evacuate because the flood levels had moved up from the Fraser River to the roadway of River Road.
Projections from the River Forecast Centre estimate the level to rise an additional 44 centimetres in the next couple of days which would impact the road.
"This was to provide them opportunity to get out prior to that level being raised and not being able to pass safely.
"For the safety of the people we want them to get out now."
The Mission gauge indicates that the Fraser River is currently at 6.27 metres (as of 4 p.m. Friday) and Helmer said it is expected to hit 6.75 metres by the end of the weekend.
He said the evacuation will last for as long as the road is covered with water.
Evacuees should park in the library parking lot and enter the firehall from the west side of the building. Evacuees should bring all important items with them, including:
Important Documents (Insurance papers)
If evacuees are bringing pets, please bring a carrier, leash, food and water.
Sand and bags are available from the Abbotsford Operations Yard located at 31739 King Rd. Residents are responsible for the assembly, transportation and placement of the bags.
While there is no immediate danger to homes protected by the local dike system, Helmer said people should be prepared.
"There's no concern. The dikes are very well engineered and have been upgraded over the last couple of year. But they should always be prepared," said Helmer.
He added that they are optimistic that the dikes are in good shape and there will be no issues.
Staff will be working all weekend to monitor the situation.
The City of Abbotsford Flood Planning Committee will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates. Detailed flood information is available on the City’s website at www.abbotsford.ca and through the Flood Information Phone line at 604-864-5688.
Keep checking abbynews.com for further flood developments.