Although Abbotsford is seeing some localized flooding on Tuesday (Nov. 30), the water level in the Sumas Prairie lake bottom has dropped six inches in the last 24 hours, says Mayor Henry Braun.
Braun, speaking at the city’s daily press conference, said water levels began rising mid-morning on the north side of Highway 1 on North Parallel Road near Whatcom Road.
He said the levels reached the point at about 11 a.m. where he issued evacuation orders for buildings in that area.
The orders have been issued for 2904 Glencoe Drive (units A to F), Castle Fun Park and the Clarion Hotel.
Braun said the city also had to close several roads in the Matsqui Prairie region. But he said the sandbagging and sediment-clearing done in Clayburn Village has held back the flooding from reaching homes and businesses in that area.
Braun also said that floodwaters have started to abate in Huntingdon Village, which saw rising levels on Monday (Nov. 29) after the Nooksack River in Washington State overtopped its banks.
Due to sandbagging efforts over the weekend by volunteers and the military, the waters did not reach homes in the area.
The larger flooding situation has a “positive forecast,” Braun said.
“Regional water modelling projections for (Tuesday) 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 (Wednesday),” he said.
Braun said projections from Whatcom County indicate that, at this time, the Nooksack River is not expected to overflow its banks again in the next few days.
“However, the situation remains fluid and there is still some uncertainty, and we will be monitoring the situation very closely.”
Braun said the floodgates at the Barrowtown Pump Station have remained open, allowing water from the Sumas River to flow into the Fraser River.
The mayor said rapid damage assessments have continued of impacted homes, and updates are expected in the coming days on the city’s return-to-home plans.
“As we continue to move toward recovery, our long-term focus – in partnership with the provincial and federal governments – will continue to be on how we are going to rebuild our critical infrastructure to ensure that we do not experience another event of this magnitude or worse,” Braun said.
He said support for vital upgrades “will make the difference between us potentially dealing with another mass flooding event in the future that impacts our farmers and shuts down key transportation corridors.”
Braun said the city is also working closely with both the Sumas and Matsqui First Nations in their recovery efforts.