December 12, 2018
A series of powerful Pacific storms continue to impact British Columbia. Following heavy rainfall yesterday, another storm is expected to arrive to south-west BC overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Moderately heavy rainfall is expected with this storm, along with a slight rise in temperatures. Over higher terrain, precipitation is expected to remain as snow, however mid-elevations (<1400m) may see minor melt of snow that has accumulated over the past day. An additional storm is expected to arrive later on Friday.
Streamflow is expected to rise in response to these storms, with high flows expected on Thursday. Rivers will have a reprieve later on Thursday or into Friday, before another round of precipitation arrives. Current hydrological modelling is indicating the potential for streamflow in the 2-year to 5-year return period range, and possibly higher, over the Thursday-Friday period.
The City is advising people to avoid the river areas and to use extreme caution along the dikes and other water courses, as the water level continues to rise and the current is fast-moving.
Our diking system protects our community.
A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
A Flood Watch means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.
A Flood Warning means that river levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result.
Floods - What To Do
Though governments at every level work to reduce the risk of floods, the first line of defence always rests with the individual. Each of us has a responsibility to protect our homes and families to the greatest extent possible. By planning ahead and taking sensible precautions, you can do your part to minimize flood damage.
Flash or sudden flooding, in which warning time is extremely limited, can result from other causes such as earthquakes, tsunamis or tidal waves, hurricanes, violent storms or bursting of dams. In all cases, local government authorities try to keep residents informed of developments in areas most likely to be affected by flooding. Regular media advisories will recommend actions people should take to limit or prevent disaster. As the need arises, more detailed instructions by municipal or provincial authorities will be given.
Before The Flood
- Ensure that you have a battery-powered radio in working order, with spare batteries, to listen to instructions from your local station.
- Prepare for a minimum of a one week emergency kit that includes food, water and medical supplies in an easy-to-carry container. In addition to the battery-powered radio and spare batteries, it should contain at least the following items:
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Warm clothing, including waterproof outer garments and footwear
- All necessary medication
- Infant care items
- Personal toiletries
About the Freshet
Annually in May and June, British Columbia experiences a freshet. This occurs when accumulated snow at higher elevations melts, causing river levels to rise.
Due to rainfall and rapid snow melt, a high streamflow advisory may issued for the Lower Fraser River. A high streamflow advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas, outside of the diking system is possible. Let us answer your questions regarding the freshet and how it affects you. Download our Freshet Fact Sheet.
Check out our Fact Sheets in our Resource Library to better prepare yourself and your family in the event of an emergency.