Chilliwack properties evacuated as Fraser River continues to surge
Published Tuesday, May 15, 2018 12:30PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 11:03AM PDT
Officials have issued an evacuation order for a handful of properties in Chilliwack as the Fraser River swells with freshly melted snow.
The river is expected to climb by more than a metre over the next week, a troubling forecast that's led the City of Chilliwack to order residents to abandon three properties at Carey Point.
"Staff continue to monitor river levels and are taking every precaution to ensure public safety in the event of a flood," the city said Tuesday.
A few other properties at Carey Point remain under evacuation alert, meaning residents must be prepared to flee at a moment's notice.
The Fraser River is currently 5.5 metres deep and flowing at 9,300 cubic metres per second at the Mission gauge. It's expected to hit 5.75 metres over the next 24 hours, and peak at 6.6 metres by early next week.
Those predictions are based on weather conditions, however, and officials said they could alter significantly if the forecast changes.
The District of Mission said there's no immediate risk of flooding locally, but warned there is potentially dangerous debris flowing down the river.
"Staff are currently performing routine dike assessments and inspections, dike maintenance and other flood preparedness activities," Mission said in an update Tuesday.
Many gauge points are at or above historic flows for this early in the season, according to the River Forecast Centre. B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has called the river conditions a "one-in-100-year flood return."
Last week, the provincial government activated an emergency centre in Surrey to brace for potential flooding, and delivered sandbagging machines to help cities in their preparations.
Residents can get information on how to stay prepared through the government's PreparedBC website.