With water levels creeping towards a 50-year high, flood evacuation alerts for residents living in the unprotected areas of Glen Valley have been issued by the City of Abbotsford.
In addition, three residents on Walters Road, located between the Matsqui Dyke and the Fraser River, have also been alerted.
The Fraser River is expected to hit the 6.38-metre mark at the Mission bridge today (Friday) and the BC River Forecast Centre has issued a notice saying due to tidal influences, the level could reach 6.75 metres by the end of the weekend.
The weather forecast is also calling for 25mm of rain in the next two days.
Abbotsford Police have visited a total of 20 residences, warning homeowners of the danger.
People in these areas have been told to be prepared to leave on short notice.
Abbotsford Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer met with other officials on Thursday afternoon to establish if the evacuation alert should become an order.
Once the river hits its potential peak of 6.75 metres, it should begin to decline – for now.
“There is going to be a dip after that and then we wait for the weather and see what happens in Prince George,” said Helmer.
Helmer said a “pulse” is moving down the Fraser River and the valley is receiving it now. The pulse consists of rain that fell four days ago and once it passes, the river level should decrease.
However, depending on what happens up north in the next few days, another pulse could be on the way.
The last serious flood warnings in Abbotsford were issued in 2007, and those levels have been exceeded this year, Helmer said. However, “Our dykes are approximately a metre higher than in 2007,” he said.
In 2007, the Fraser River level hit 6.03 metres. As of Thursday morning, it had already reached the 6.09 mark.
The last time the Fraser River surpassed the 6.75 metre mark was in 1972, when the Mission bridge gauge recorded 7.18 metres. During the famed flood of 1948, the river peaked at 7.61 metres.
The flood alert is only for the small number of residents living outside of the area protected by the dikes.
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.
The website and the phone line will be updated as river conditions change.