The river watch is coming to an end, at least in the District of Mission. Officials are now cautiously optimistic that the Fraser River water level is on the decline and should return to normal.
According to the District’s Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Younie, they are “backing right off” the watch.
“The river is at 5.8 metres this morning (Tuesday, July 7) and it is predicted to drop very quickly now,” he explained, adding it has been a tense few weeks.
Younie said concerns were high last week after heavy rains were projected to hit the entire Fraser River watershed. Up to an inch or more was predicted.
“The province was very concerned that the combination of the final melt of the upper level snowpack, together with two inches of rain across the watershed is one of those scenarios that can result a quick bump up of the river,” said Younie
The water level was expected to hit the seven metre mark, but it didn’t happen.
With that in mind, Younie said the district had sand bags ready to go and an emergency plan in place.
But the rain did not have as big an impact as expected and the river only reached the 5.95 metre mark at the Mission gauge.
“Six metres isn’t an issue for us,” said Younie.
“When I start to hear 6.5 or seven metres, that would have been trouble in some areas and would have required a response from the District.”
He said he knows of no flooding incidents in the District.
Earlier this week, the B.C. River Forecast Centre predicted the Fraser River would reach peak freshet on Monday, July 6, that’s a month after the first predicted peak for the Lower Fraser in early June, but river levels have been surging up and down in tandem with various weather systems affecting upper Fraser watersheds.
Surging river levels in northern communities sparked flood warnings after heavy rains hit some communities, including some water spilling into unprotected areas in Fraser Valley spots like Chilliwack’s Carey Point.