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Flood threat recedes, but Fraser River still high near Langley

Evacuation alerts are still in place for Township, Katzie reserve residents
As of June 30, the Fraser River water level, at the Mission gauge, was just under six metres. Current forecasts expect another peak at around six metres before levels drop again. (Kevin Mills/Black Press Media)

The threat of record-high levels on the Fraser River in Langley and the Lower Mainland has receded, according to the latest estimates from the provincial government.

As of the Sunday, July 3 estimate, river levels at the Mission Gauge, which is widely used as a baseline for the Lower Fraser Valley, will peak on Tuesday, July 5 at 5.94 metres. The river has peaked at that level several times, and has even touched 6.5 metres once in the last decade.

The new projected peak would be well below the projected 7.34 metres that was expected for July 7, based on projections from last week. If that river had reached that level, it would have broken a record peak last seen in 1972.

The river level began dipping in the middle of last week, giving some breathing room.

New forecasts are coming out daily, and frequently change based on temperature, the amount of snow melting in the Interior, and rainfall levels.

The level is still considered high. As of Monday morning, the Mission Gauge was showing 5.86 metres.

People near the river are asked to exercise caution, as the river is fast-moving and often has large debris in it during the spring freshet, including whole trees.

“We just want people to stay safe,” said Roeland Zwaag, director of public works for Langley Township.

At that level, low-lying areas near the river may be under water. Since mid-June, several paths and campgrounds, including in Derby Reach and Brae Island Regional Parks in Langley have been closed.

Langley Township and the Katzie First Nation, which has reserves in Maple Ridge and Langley, have issued flood evacuation alerts to residents in low-lying areas, as has Metro Vancouver for residents on Barnston Island, in the river between Surrey, Langley, and Pitt Meadows.

An alert does not mean people have to leave their homes, but they are advised that they should have a plan and be ready to leave on short notice, in case water levels begin to rise suddenly.

In Langley Township, staff are checking the dikes north of Walnut Grove and in Glen Valley on a daily basis.

READ ALSO: Flood advisory in place for Langley Township as Fraser River water level rises

READ ALSO: Evacuation alert issued for Langley residents near Fraser River

According to the Township of Langley’s flood response plan, door-to-door evacuations of the most-threatened properties could begin if the water level hits 6.3 metres.

The Township updates information at Sand and sandbags are available at the Township Operations Centre at 4700 224th Street, 24 hours a day.

People in threatened areas should be prepared to have to leave and have an evacuation plan.

Zwaag also asked people to obey signs closing off roads if any streets do get flooded. The water can be deeper and faster than they expect.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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