High water on the Fraser River around Fort Langley Wednesday.

Minor local flooding but Fraser still below alert stage

River Forecast Centre doesn't expect river will test dikes

Some low-laying areas that aren’t protected by dikes from the high waters of the Fraser River are experiencing some localized flooding.

Affected areas include the Kwantlen First Nation reserve at Fort Langley.

B.C. River Forecast Centre head Dave Campbell said the lower Fraser is still well below levels at which frequent dike inspections and other flood precautions would normally begin to kick in.

That’s typically around the six-metre mark at the Mission gauge, which was at 5.6 metres as of Wednesday afternoon. (Evacuations in diked areas would typically be triggered at 7.6 metres.)

The river has been either holding steady or subsiding slightly in the past few days, Campbell said.

But he noted high tides are expected in the next two days, which could push water levels above what they would otherwise be in some areas around Surrey or further downstream.

The volume of water moving in the Fraser at Hope is around 9,400 cubic metres per second, which is slightly above the typical peak flow for any given year of 8,700.

Campbell said the Fraser was expected to reach 10,000 cubic metres per second during this spring freshet, but that so far hasn’t happened.

The snowpack feeding the river’s watershed was at 120 per cent of normal May 1, meaning there was some risk of flooding in the Lower Mainland if hot weather caused a fast melt-off.

But so far the moderate temperatures have avoided that possibility and Campbell said flooding is unlikely, barring an intense hot spell, possibly coupled with rain, over the next two weeks.

“We’ve had pretty modest weather this past week,” he said. “And the forecast is for continued modest weather.”

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