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Break in rain eases Fraser River levels

Port Haney Wharf remains open, but the boat mooring ramp is closed. - Monisha Martins/The News
Port Haney Wharf remains open, but the boat mooring ramp is closed.
— image credit: Monisha Martins/The News

The Fraser River is expected to drop over the next week days, but the threat of a flood has yet to abate in its lower reaches as rainfall and snowmelt make their way downstream.

Dave Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said a pulse of water from weekend rains is expected to cause the lower Fraser River to rise again by this weekend.

The Mission river gauge is expected to decline, then climb again to between six and 6.6 metres by Saturday.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said Monday a low-pressure system is expected to move east to Alberta Tuesday, easing rainfall in most of the B.C. Interior, except for the southeast corner.

Typically it takes six days for water from rain and snowmelt in the upper Fraser headwaters to travel down to the Fraser Valley.

The District of Maple Ridge and City of Pitt Meadows are closely monitoring conditions along the river and weather and are conducting daily dike inspections.

Both municipalities have activated their emergency operations centres, which will remain active until rivers have receded to safe levels.

“We asking people to use extreme caution around water sources and obey cautionary signage and emergency personnel,” said Lorna Jones, with the City of Pitt Meadows.

Eight homes outside Pitt Meadows dike protection system were issued evacuation alerts.

In Maple Ridge, 43 homes on the unprotected section of Wharf Street in Hammond were put on an “evacuation alert” Friday. That remains in place.

A townhouse complex on Kanaka Street was sandbagged as a precaution. An intense thunderstorm Saturday evening raised the level of the Kanaka Creek estuary.

The Port Haney Wharf remains open to the public, however the boat mooring ramp is closed due to the high river levels and fast flowing water. Inspections are being conducted daily.

“Water levels on the Fraser River and tributaries remain very high and water flows are fast,” said Fred Armstrong, with the District of Maple Ridge.

Armstrong also urged people to stay away from the rushing water.

“If somebody fell into the water, they would be swept away very quickly.,”

Although water levels are dropping, Armstrong added the district will not be rescinding the evacuation alerts.

“To rescind it for a couple of days and potentially have to put it back in, is probably not a good idea.”

– with files from @TomFletcherbc

Flood watch

• The District of Maple Ridge will be updating information on its website under “Flood Watch on the Fraser.” Also follow the district on Twitter @yourmapleridge and #FraserMR.

• The sandbagging depot remains open at Albion Flats Landscaping Supply and will remain open 24 hours a day until further notice. The depot is located at Albion Flats Landscape Supply, 23549 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge. Phone : 604-477-1971

• The City of Pitt Meadows has up-to-date information on its website and via its emergency operations phone line at 604-465-2475.

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