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
[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford food drive donates estimated $50k to food bank

Annual Fraser Valley Automall Food Drive donated $6,500 cheque, but up to $50,000 in total value

Abbotsford News Week In Review: Dec. 9-15

A new series on homelessness, students rally to keep classmate in Canada and lacking voting opportunities

Executive director of Kinghaven and Peardonville House to retire

Milt Walker steps aside after 35 years’ work with Abbotsford treatment centres

Abbotsford lags behind when it comes to voting opportunities

Most mid-sized B.C. cities provide more advance polls and mail-in ballots, analysis finds

Championship Saturday set for APD city tournament

Games running starting at 9 a.m. at Abbotsford’s Columbia Bible College

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read