Members of the Canadian Forces build a temporary dike with sandbags behind houses on Clayburn Creek on Nov. 24, 2021. The village is again preparing for flooding during an atmospheric river this week. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Members of the Canadian Forces build a temporary dike with sandbags behind houses on Clayburn Creek on Nov. 24, 2021. The village is again preparing for flooding during an atmospheric river this week. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Abbotsford prepares for localized flooding during latest rainfall

Area not expected to suffer a repeat of the catastrophic November floods

As the latest atmospheric river continues in the Fraser Valley through Wednesday night (Jan. 12), Abbotsford is preparing for localized flooding in areas such as Clayburn Village.

Pre-filled sandbags have been made available at Albert Dyck Park and in the parking lot of Clayburn schoolhouse on Wright Street for residents of the village.

Once the pre-filled sandbags are gone, empty bags and sand will be available at the schoolhouse.

Clayburn Village was among the hardest hit areas during the previous atmospheric river in mid-November that brought devastating flooding to the community, most notably to Sumas Prairie.

The village is located at the foot of Sumas Mountain and is prone to flooding due to sediment in Clayburn Creek.

A statement from the city said sediment was removed from the creek following the first atmospheric river in November, but the second and third downpours brought even more sediment.

The city requires provincial government approval to work in creeks, and Mayor Henry Braun received the go-ahead on Tuesday afternoon to proceed as soon as possible with sediment removal Wednesday from Clayburn Creek, the statement said.

“With snow melt on Sumas Mountain and heavy rains, conditions could change quickly, so we will be monitoring the situation through the weather event.”

Environment Canada said on Tuesday (Jan. 11) that as much as 150 millimetres could hit the south coast of B.C. this week.

Rainfall warnings included Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

RELATED: B.C. braces for heavy rain, potential floods as latest atmospheric river arrives

But Environment Canada said portions of the Fraser Valley could see no more than 20 mm of rain Wednesday.

Abbotsford will likely dodge the worst of the downpours, having recorded 34 mm of rain on Tuesday, and is not expected to experience the same devastation as it did in the recent floods.

As well, the Nooksack River in Washington State is not expected to overflow its banks this week and course across the Sumas Prairie as it did in November.

The statement from the city said that Braun spoke with Everson, Wash. Mayor John Perry on Tuesday afternoon and was told there has not yet been anything of concern in relation to the Nooksack.

“While river projections have changed slightly, at this point in time there are not any concerns about an overlfow event,” the statement said.

The city said another factor in Abbotsford’s favour this week is that the breaches in the Sumas diking system have been repaired, and the dikes have been built higher for a seven-kilometre stretch between Atkinson Road and Barrowtown.

“The added height to the dikes also means there is more water-storage capacity that there was pre-flood.”

Meanwhile, the city has closed three roads due to flooding concerns:

• Straiton Road from Old Clayburn to Willet

• No. 4 Road from South Parallel Road to Marion Road

• Sumas Mountain Road (the gravel portion from 6406 to 6491)

– with files from The Canadian Press

RELATED: Evacuation alerts in effect for several areas in Abbotsford due to flooding



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