Flash Flood Alert: Vancouver, B.C.
Due to record snowpack and recent above average temperatures the past several weeks, the Fraser River continues to rise and low-lying areas in the valley east of Vancouver are now under evacuation alerts.
This river flows 1,375 kilometers, or 854 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to the Straight of Georgia. Early Tuesday in Mission, B.C. one of several gauges recorded water levels of just over 5.5 meters, 18 feet.
In response to the rapidly rising water levels, the Langley Township issued an emergency evacuation alert over 250 homes located throughout Glen Valley, West Langley, and Fort Langley. If the water levels continue to rise and reach up to 6.3 meters, over 20 feet, residents will be forced out. Now the concern is angled towards homes located along unprotected flooding areas northwest of Langley including Bray Island and McMillan Island.
As a precaution, the Metro Vancouver Regional Districted placed Barnston Island, located in the Fraser River between Surrey and Pitt Meadows, under an evacuation alert. While residents do not have to leave at this time, they should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Currently, according to officials, Barnston Island is restricted to residents, business owners and those with local family members.
The flow rate of the Fraser River has doubled since May 1st and locals have observed logs, branches, and other large debris swiftly moving down the river over the past few days — carried by the excess snow melt.
More warm weather is expected in the coming days which could allow the Fraser to rise at least another meter in height — rivaling levels reached during the river’s flooding in 2012. Officials currently expect water levels to rise until May 22 and estimate levels could reach six meters high by Friday and peak to 6.6 meters, over 21 feet, by next week. If the river reaches these levels, other areas will be put under evacuation orders, including Nicomen Island.
If your area is instructed to evacuate in the case of a flood, follow these safety precautions:
- Create an evacuation plan, preparing to assist children and disabled or elderly persons.
- Know the locations of all household members and plan of a place to meet if ever separated during evacuations.
- Immediately begin relocating large pets and livestock to a safe area.
- Collect essential living items like medications, eyeglasses, valuable and identifying documents, immediate care and first aid needs, and pets.
- Arrange lodging and accommodation for your family and be aware of any provided emergency lodging.
If time permits, take all necessary steps to prepare your home and property from damaging flood waters. Begin by bringing any outdoor furniture or other items inside and place those and important indoor items on the highest possible floor or location to protect them from water damage. Disconnect electrical appliances and turn off gas and electricity at the main switch or valve to prevent fires or explosions.
Keep your radio or television tuned to local news outlets for up-to-date information regarding the Fraser River flooding and know your chances for possible upcoming evacuation in your area. To learn more about our complete list of restoration services, call us today at 778-655-0490.