Fraser River watchers may see one more surge of high water next week.
Water levels have been dropping since the second freshet peak arrived on the Lower Fraser this week – a month after the first peak in early June.
But there may still be more to come. The latest 10-day CLEVER modelling from the BC River Forecast Centre estimates that a third peak could reach Hope and lower Fraser communities by Wednesday, July 15.
The Fraser has peaked twice now, and it’s been a late freshet season. It’s unusual to see a second peak this late and even more unusual to possibly see a third.
Some property owners outside the protected dike system near Carey Point in Chilliwack have been sandbagging and pumping water out of basements for days. Riverside trails and facilities across the Fraser Valley have been closed during the high-water phase.
The second peak was driven by a later than usual snowmelt in the north, and a rainy spring in the Upper Fraser region.
The freshet peak on the Fraser is forecast based on many factors and different models, and the CLEVER forecast of discharge for the Fraser at Hope is predicted to reach 11171.5 cubic metres per second, and 11537 for the Fraser at Mission by Wednesday.
The other freshet measure is in metres based on measurements at the Mission gauge, which was used historically as a flood water indicator, and still is across the valley. It has gone above six metres, or beyond bank full conditions, only a few times in the past decade, in 2012 and 2018. Water levels were at 5.6 metres at the Mission gauge on July 7.
The Fraser River at Hope peaked last week for the second time at a flow slightly below the five-year return period and is currently running at 8,420 m3/s, which is a flow slightly below the 2-year return period level.
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