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Fraser River flooding fears ease, but locals remain on edge

Rising waters on the Fraser River sparked concerns the region could see 2012-level flooding.
Rising waters on the Fraser River sparked concerns the region could see 2012-level flooding. Global News

There is good news on the flooding front for residents of the Lower Mainland.

The Fraser River through Surrey has dropped almost a foot as of Tuesday.

READ MORE: Evacuation alerts and park closures in Lower Mainland, as Fraser River creeps higher

That’s raising hopes on Barnston Island, the entirety of which was placed on evacuation alert last week, and where minimum-security prisoners have been helping out with sandbagging.

WATCH: BC Flood: Barnston Island prepares

BC Flood: Barnston Island prepares
BC Flood: Barnston Island prepares

Randy Newberg is the captain of the Barnston Island ferry, and says despite the improvement, flood preparations are continuing.

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“It’s been busy here yes, it’s been good. Yesterday a lot of the septic fields were emptied and they got a lot of the cattle removed, and dogs. It’s a big job and there’s a lot of support.”

READ MORE: Township of Langley preps for road closures as Fraser River creeps higher

Greg Masender lives on the island and says no one is letting their guard down.

“We’re all just preparing for the worst and hoping for the best — that’s all we can do,” he told Global News.

WATCH: B.C. flood recovery underway

B.C. flood recovery underway
B.C. flood recovery underway

Upriver, crews in Langley are also keeping vigilant.

Langley emergency planning co-ordinator Ginger Sherlock said the Fraser River is expected to hold steady at current levels, but that warm temperatures this week could still spell trouble for low-lying areas.

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“If we do get a pineapple express or something of big significance coming on the weekend, then we’re concerned about the following week,” she said.

“You see what’s going on and your heart is in your throat all the time.”

Sherlock said an inflatable “tiger dam” remains in place in the Glen Valley area, and that crews remain on standby.

READ MORE: All eyes on the Fraser River with high water levels set to match 2012

“We are still very vigilant, we still have daily dike patrols going on with our public works department and engineering.”

The Fraser River remains under a high streamflow advisory from the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

Forecast centre spokseperson Dave Campbell said it appears the valley may have “dodged a bullet.”

“We didn’t see quite as high flows as we might have anticipated over the weekend on the Fraser,” he said.

“We’re really kind of in that last bit of trying to squeeze as much melt out of the snow as we can through the Fraser. And we could see some additional rises this week as that melt comes up a little bit.”

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As of Tuesday afternoon, water levels at the key Mission Gauge measuring point were at 5.88 metres, an improvement from the weekend where river levels topped 5.95 metres.

At over six metres, the Fraser is considered above full bank conditions, and flooding is expected in low-lying areas.

-With files from Ria Renouf