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High water sparks river watch

Workers check the flowrate of the Vedder River just downstream from the Vedder Bridge Monday. The river peaked at 3.5 metres early Monday morning.  - Greg Knill
Workers check the flowrate of the Vedder River just downstream from the Vedder Bridge Monday. The river peaked at 3.5 metres early Monday morning.
— image credit: Greg Knill

Chilliwack River was on flood watch in the early hours of Monday morning after heavy rain drenched the area.

The roaring Chilliwack River peaked at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 17 above Slesse Creek and at Vedder Crossing.

“Water levels receded overnight, and are continuing to recede today,” according to a release from the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

A high streamflow advisory for other areas also ended, just as rainfall warnings were lifted in the Fraser Valley.

FVRD emergency program coordinator Lynn Orstad said she and other FVRD staff were on-site overnight during the flood watch, monitoring the Wilson Road dike.

“You could hear the water coming down in a rush, with boulders knocking into each other and trees bouncing like toothpicks. There was just a huge roar,” she said. “Thankfully it crested.”

They were prepared.

“We had also brought in pumps in the event that we needed to pump the flood water back into the river,” she said.

The Chilliwack River above Slesse and at Vedder Crossing crested just above a two-year level of 3.38 metres at about 3.5. No evacuations were required in the end.

Residents of riverside trailers were warned at about 8 p.m. that they might have to evacuate, but river levels were about a metre away from spilling over the banks.

Now staff will be busy watching for debris flow and other blockages on local creeks and rivers.

“We’re trying to get a handle on it before the next system arrives. We’re going to keep on top of it,” Orstad said.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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