Lower Fraser to peak Friday
The spring surge of the lower Fraser River is expected to peak by Friday morning, and to continue running at high levels through the weekend as forecast rain adds to snow melt.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre expected peak flow volume to be reached Thursday at Mission, with a level of 6.38 metres at the Mission gauge by late in the day. Due to tidal influences, the river is expected to continue to rise through the weekend, with daily peak levels of up to 6.75 metres.
That is well below the 8.89-metre height of the lower Fraser River dike system, so communities along the lower Fraser are not likely to experience flooding except for areas not protected by dikes.
Residents of Barnston Island near Surrey were put on flood alert by local officials Thursday, and Seabird Island near Chilliwack is also at risk of flooding.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, municipal staff continue to monitor weather reports and are conducting periodic patrols to ensure dikes are clear and accessible.
“We want resident to be cautious around the edge of the river. It is quite something to see ... but it is dangerous,” said Pitt Meadows director of operations Kim Grout.
“As of now, it continues to be a high stream advisory and staff are continuing to monitor levels. It is very weather-dependent.”
If the Fraser peaks at 6.3 metres, it means water might rise up to the toe of the dike - that is its lowest part.
In Pitt Meadows, two homeowners and one business along the Alouette River, one home and two business along the Fraser were alerted to the rising water on Wednesday. The city also notified the Pitt Meadows airport as there are several hangars on the river side of the dike. Pitt Meadows will keep its emergency operations centre on stand-by over the weekend.
On Wednesday, the District of Maple Ridge dropped off information to 50 homes along Wharf Street in Hammond, 40 properties near to Best Street, 90 properties fronting on Kanaka Creek just north of the Lougheed Highway, and property owners along the Fraser River from Albion to the border of Mission.
Maple Ridge mayor Ernie Daykin reminded residents to heed warnings issued by the B.C. River Forecast Centre.
"While the predicted Fraser River levels did not materialize in 2007, it is important that people take the appropriate steps to protect their families, pets, businesses and personal possessions," said Daykin.
"I'd rather apologize that someone was too prepared than unprepared for the pulse of water we are expecting."
Environment Canada said a low pressure system off the B.C. coast is expected to spread rain to the South Coast by Friday and into the Interior by the weekend. Interior temperatures are expected to rise to near 30 degrees before the rain arrives, accelerating snow melt in areas such as the Skeena and Bulkley watersheds where much of the snowpack remains.
The upper Fraser River peaked at Prince George Wednesday after high flow following rain last weekend. The South Fort George gauge stood at 9.83 metres Thursday morning after peaking at just over 10 metres, and it may rise again depending on rainfall through the weekend.
The South Thompson River and Shuswap Lake were upgraded from "flood watch" to "flood warning" status Thursday. Flood warnings continued for the Fraser River from upstream of Prince George to Quesnel and the Fraser Canyon. The Thompson River and Kamloops Lake were placed on flood watch.
- with files from @MonishaMartins.
• The City of Pitt Meadows has up-to-date information on its website and via its emergency operations phone line at 604-465-2475.