Volunteers filling sand bags for flood protection in Maple Ridge Park. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Volunteers filling sand bags for flood protection in Maple Ridge Park. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Maple Ridge prepares for potential flooding

Volunteers filling sand bags at Maple Ridge Park, city on alert

Maple Ridge residents were fortifying their homes against the prospect of more flooding, with the prediction of the last of three “atmospheric rivers” set to dump more rain on the city Wednesday evening.

Volunteers were filling sand bags and loading them into vehicles in Maple Ridge Park on Wednesday afternoon, as residents who live along the Alouette River tried to protect their homes from the rising waters.

Mayor Mike Morden said the city had been watching the situation closely, with Hydro, once water began spilling over the Alouette Dam at around 11 a.m.

The city was preparing for potential evacuations. Morden said 800 residents have been directly notified, an emergency alert has been issued, reader boards in place, and the city emergency operations centre activated. City works crews have been monitoring all critical points in the field, and Hydro staff continue to watch the flows from the Alouette, he said.

“We are in the hands of mother nature, our city is prepared, we are hopeful we come out of this event relatively unscathed,” said Morden.

The latest projections are that the South Alouette impacts will now be similar to the Nov. 15 peak, with high water flows and some flood impacts along the South Alouette. That event resulted in road closures in the area.

At 4 p.m., city hall issued a weather update, noting that BC Hydro issued a flood alert. While little daytime rainfall has helped the situation, the evening rains will determine the level of spill into the South Alouette River.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s year of extreme weather ‘consistent’ with climate change, meteorologist says

There is rain forecast in the evening, tapering off by morning. It is important to be prepared for the conditions at the high end of the forecast rain amounts, warns the city. The information available at this time indicates the peak flows on the South Alouette will happen between midnight and 3 a.m. Thursday morning.

BC Hydro and city crews will be monitoring the water levels in the South Alouette as the rain tapers off, and will provide an update later this evening if the conditions look like they will exceed the Nov. 15 rain event levels. Based upon the current information from BC Hydro, the river water levels will start to recede overnight, however the flow rates will continue to be high in the coming days as the water levels in the Alouette Reservoir lower, and Hydro moves to a controlled release to lower the level of the reservoir to seasonal norms, said the city.

READ ALSO: ‘This storm is not over’: Officials urge caution as B.C.’s 3rd atmospheric river continues


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