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B.C. flooding news Tuesday: Township of Langley issues evacuation alert amid rising water levels

Click to play video: 'Fraser River flood watch'
Fraser River flood watch
May 12: Low lying areas of the Fraser Valley will likely be under water by next week and the Fraser River is expected to rise to near record levels. Julia Foy has more – May 12, 2018

The Township of Langley issued an evacuation alert on Tuesday for the unprotected floodplain areas of northwest Langley and Glen Valley, as well as Brae Island and McMillan Island.

A post on the township’s website said the Mission Gauge reached 5.5 metres and warned that “should the warm weather pattern continue, current predictions indicate that we could experience water levels up to 6.0m by Friday and peak around 6.6m by early-mid next week.”

A highstream flow advisory was issued for the Fraser River on May 10.

The province’s River Forecast Centre said warmer than normal temperatures across the province over the last several weeks have prompted the snowpack runoff for the Fraser River to arrive earlier than normal.

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WATCH: Fraser River flood watch

Click to play video: 'Fraser River flood watch'
Fraser River flood watch

The City of Surrey is also keeping a close eye on the Fraser River as water levels rise. Currently, over 500 lock blocks are being moved into place to protect homes and businesses in the low-lying Bridgeview neighbourhood near the Pattullo Bridge.

LISTEN: Surrey braces itself for flooding potential
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“The latest numbers yesterday that predicted a water level of just over 6.6 meters measured at Mission Gauge,” said Jeff Arason with the engineering department. “This is not a water level that would cause any issues to the Bridgeview area but out of an abundance of caution we are doing all the work necessary in case the forecast changes.”

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The ferry to Barnston Island continues to run back and forth across the Fraser. Major employers like the CN railyard and a number of sawmills are in danger of being flooded but have their own precautionary measures in place.

Meanwhile, flood-weary residents in B.C.’s Southern Interior are being told to brace for round two.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says about 3,000 residents remain under an Evacuation Order as rising temperatures continue to accelerate the melting of high elevation snowpacks.

Rivers are also expected to rise by mid-week to levels close to those experienced last Thursday.

WATCH: Some areas around the province bracing for round two of flooding

Click to play video: 'Some areas around the province bracing for round two of flooding'
Some areas around the province bracing for round two of flooding

Property owners in hard-hit Grand Forks are being urged to keep sandbags in place and be prepared to leave again at a moment’s notice.

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“We have a massive, massive situation here,” Grand Fork Mayor Frank Konrad said. “The clean-up, the aftermath, it’s going to be much more catastrophic than the event itself.”

Konrad said the city is going to need help from higher governments to rebuild.

“There’s going to be a lot of people looking for answers and solutions to this.

More than 3,000 properties are still under evacuation order in the Kootenay Boundary region.

And they’re not out of the woods yet either as the river forecast is predicting the next wave will hit in the coming days and there are fears this next round could be a knockout punch.

In the meantime, the Similkameen River is projected to reach historic levels by Friday. That could push several feet of additional water back here into Osoyoos Lake.

Crews are scrambling to shore the dikes.

More than 100 properties have been evacuated in this area while another 600 are on alert.

WATCH: B.C. Flood watch: Many communities on evacuation alert

Click to play video: 'B.C. Flood watch: Many communities on evacuation alert'
B.C. Flood watch: Many communities on evacuation alert

Community meetings are planned later today for Grand Forks, Rock Creek, and Osoyoos.

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Interior Health has also issued a warning telling residents there can be serious health risks with major flooding events.

Public Health Director Courtney Hesketh says health officials always assume flood waters are contaminated and can spread diseases like E. coli and salmonella.

“If you’re on well water, do not use the water until you flush the system, the flood waters have receded and, if possible, you’ve had some bacteriological testing of your drinking water,” Hesketh said.

She also said wet drywall and silt can cause asthma, and in rare cases, black mould can be toxic.

— With files from Janet Brown, Simon Little and Emily Lazatin

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