Rapid snow melt prompts streamflow advisory for Fraser River

Jun 2 2017, 10:03 pm

Rising waters along the Fraser River in the Lower Mainland have led the BC River Forecast Centre to issue a high streamflow advisory.

The area affected by the latest advisory spans from the Fraser Canyon to the ocean – Richmond and Delta, where the mouth of the river is located.

According to the Forecast Centre, river levels have been rising due to hot temperatures and rapid snowmelt in the Fraser River basin.

It is anticipated the runoff levels will peak over the weekend. Flows through Hope will reach 9,500-10,000 cubic metres per second today and into Saturday.

There is no risk of flooding, although the Forecast Centre warns that low-lying areas along the riverside have previously been impacted by flows at Hope in the 9,000 to 10,000 cubic metres per second range.

The City of Maple Ridge says it is inspecting its dykes regularly, and the inspections will become a daily occurrence once water levels reach six metres.

This should also be a warning to outdoor recreation enthusiasts as water levels on streams and creeks that lead to the river as well as the river itself could rise quickly and unexpectedly.

“The combination of the high flow rate and debris poses a risk for citizens who use the river for recreation,” said Patrick Cullen, Emergency Program Coordinator for the City of Maple Ridge.

“People who use the river for recreational boating or paddling need to exercise great caution. Citizens who walk or hike along the river should also be careful, especially with off leash pets, as the river currents quickly overcome even experienced swimmers.”

The last time the Fraser River flooded was in 2007 and in 2012 when flow levels at Hope were at 11,200 and 11,900 cubic metres per second, respectively.

High river flow rates in the BC Interior have caused flooding in several communities over the last few weeks.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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