'Overall positive forecasts' outlined in latest update on flooding in Abbotsford, B.C.
The mayor of one of the cities most impacted by recent B.C. storm systems says the protections in place in Abbotsford are as ready as they're going to get.
In an update Tuesday, Mayor Henry Braun said water levels in some places started to rise in the morning, prompting targeted evacuation orders.
Several roads in the northern part of the city were closed due to flooding as well, he said.
"I can tell you that we are seeing some significant pooling of water on both the Matsqui Prairie and in the North Parallel Road area," he said.
But it's not all bad news, according to Braun.
"Despite the localized flooding that we are experiencing today, I am pleased to be able to share that I have some overall positive forecasts related to the larger flooding situation. Regional water modelling projections for today and for the next few days indicate a stabilization of overall water levels across our region, despite the rain that we are receiving and will continue to receive into tomorrow."
Describing it as "great news," he said the floodgates of a local pump station remain open, and the Sumas River is flowing into the Fraser River, lowering his concerns of another devastating flood.
Along Swanson Street in the Matsqui Prairie north of Highway 1, Richard and Lisa Harmatuik have been working for weeks to fight back the floodwater on their property.
“We’ve had water every year, but nothing like this,” Richard said. “This is about double what we’d normally see.”
Their property is situated on a lower-lying piece of land, compared to their neighbours on either side.
“There (are) not sloughs close by that enter into the Fraser,” Richard said. “We’re the lowest property and everybody drains to us.”
They’ve been trying to keep the floods from entering a wood-working shop behind their home, which is Richard’s livelihood.
“This is what pays the mortgage,” Lisa said. ‘We could have 50 men from the army here, and they aren’t going to stop the water falling out of the sky.”
The Harmatuiks have multiple pumps going, and a line of sandbags which they plan to build up even more, but said it’s been hard for them to accept help.
“I don’t want to take away from the families who have lost their homes, the families that have lost their livelihoods and their stock,” Lisa said.
“I didn’t even want a sandbag delivery the other day, because I felt I was taking it from someone else,” Richard added.
Richard spent Monday night sleeping in the shop, keeping an eye on the pumps to ensure they keep operating. They’re grateful their home has been spared, and for the way their community has come together to help, but their fight is far from over.
“It’s just going to be another long day and a long night,” Richard said. “There’s not much we can do except keep at it, pray that it’ll lighten up.”
The Washington-based Nooksack River, responsible for much of the flooding that destroyed homes and left thousands of farm animals dead, is currently not at risk of overflowing, though the situation is "fluid," Braun warned.
All work along a dike built up to stop the damage of farms in the area is complete, "and right now, our dikes are as ready as they can be," he said.
Patrols are being conducted overnight to ensure any change in conditions is flagged immediately.
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