Fraser River flood threat eases
Last Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2007 | 2:25 PM PT
The threat of flooding in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland appears to be easing, with officials now predicting lower-than-forecast peaks on the Fraser River.
The Fraser River has flooded some low-lying areas of Prince George this week.
Emergency officials in Prince George, which has a local state of emergency declared and 10 homes evacuated, say the river appears to be levelling off.
The river is now 9.8 metres in the northern B.C. city, about half a metre above flood level. The River Forecast Centre predicts the river will peak at 9.9 metres this weekend.
That's a positive sign for Lower Mainland communities downstream, which had issued evacuation alerts.
The Fraser is now expected to crest at about 6.5 metres by Saturday, instead of the original prediction of 7.5 metres, which would have been the highest level since 1972.
District of Maple Ridge spokesman Gary Manson said the evacuation alerts in the Fraser Valley will continue, as the wet weather forecast is still a concern and residents could still face an evacuation order.
"We don't want people in flood-prone areas to let their guards down, that's for sure. They have to continue to be vigilant and they have to continue to have their personal preparedness programs in place."
Manson said the district is still in the process of raising dikes in the area, and that Maple Ridge's emergency operations centre will continue to operate.
The Albion ferry, which links Maple Ridge and Fort Langley, has imposed load restrictions because of the high water on the river.
Parts of northwest B.C. still cut off
The Skeena River in northwestern B.C. also appears to be levelling off, say officials. But it isn't expected to drop for four to six days, which means Terrace and Prince Rupert will continue to have no highway link to the rest of B.C.
The Terrace area has been hit hard by the flooding, which has cut off the city's road links to the rest of B.C.
Flooding has closed Highway 16 to the west of Terrace, while flooding and a mudslide have closed the road to the east.
Some traffic is getting through to Terrace from the east via the Cranberry Connector, a four-hour backroad detour from Kitwanga.
Meanwhile, highway officials in the Smithers area say they're concerned the Bulkley River is now rising again. And the Nass River began rising again overnight.
There's also a new flood warning for the Liard River near the B.C.-Yukon border.
There is some minor flooding reported in the Chetwynd area of northeastern B.C.
Highway officials are working to protect the Pine Pass, along Highway 97, from flooding. It's the main route between Prince George and the Peace region of northeastern B.C., and Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek.
In northwestern B.C, there are three separate washouts on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway to Alaska, but the road remains open.
First flooding in southeast B.C.
Flooding has also hit the Kootenays in southeastern B.C., as the Columbia River overflowed its banks on the outskirts of Golden.
The water now covers Anderson Road in the Hospital Creek area, and a flood warning has been issued to 30 residents.
But not everyone is leaving their homes, despite a voluntary evacuation order by the Provincial Emergency Program.
About six people are staying in their homes to keep an eye on their livestock.
Rene Cote, one of the remaining residents, said his wife and child are staying with friends but he won't leave until he has no choice.
"You don't really want the kids there if the road's going to be closed. For a homeowner it's pretty important for me to be around the house and see what the water is doing. And if I have to walk out in water, well I can always do that."
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