Chilliwack braces for rising Fraser River levels
Chilliwack properties outside of the dike system could be affected by a surge of high water levels expected to hit the lower Fraser River in coming days, a city official says.
However, there is no major risk at this point to properties protected by the flood barriers, said David Blain, director of engineering for the City of Chilliwack.
High snowpack levels and heavy rains have led to rising river levels and increased the risk of flooding along the Fraser River.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre is maintaining a high streamflow advisory for the lower Fraser River.
Blain said an update today (June 20) from the provincial agency projects the river level will peak at 6.4 metres at the Mission gauge by early Friday. That level is at around 5.8 metres at present, he said.
“It’s reasonably good news. It’s a little bit lower than what they were talking about at the beginning of the week. It depends on how much rain we get Friday and Saturday,” Blain told the Straight by phone.
Earlier this week, the City of Chilliwack issued an evacuation alert for properties outside the dike system including agricultural land and around 40 homes.
The goal was to warn property owners to be aware of the rising river levels and take appropriate steps, Blain said.
“The main message I guess is that it is a much higher [river] level than we typically see but the dike system’s designed for a much higher level yet so there isn’t a major risk to properties inside the dike,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Township of Langley today issued an evacuation alert to more than 140 properties near the Fraser River.
“It’s just an alert to prepare the people in case the Fraser River increases to a certain level, which would trigger an evacuation,” Roeland Zwaag, Langley’s director of public works, told the Straight by phone.
“We don’t think that [an evacuation] will be required but we’re just planning to be ready,” he said.
Warm and wet weather is expected in southern B.C. in the coming days and into the weekend, according to the B.C. River Forecast Centre.
“River levels are expected to drop into the early part of next week, however the transition across the province to wetter weather may lead to additional rises in the lower Fraser River next week,” reads an update from the agency on June 19 at 4 p.m.