Flood waters began to rise again on Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie Thursday afternoon, police warned.
Abbotsford police took to Twitter around 1 p.m. to issue what they said was an urgent plea.
“Within the last hour the water level within the eastern part of the Sumas Prairie is beginning to rise,” police said.
“Roadways that were dry an hour ago, now have flowing water. We are seeing people not respecting barriers and police direction causing public safety concerns.”
Six hundred people have been evacuated due to the flooding in Abbotsford, B.C., city officials said Thursday morning.
That includes 11 who were rescued overnight.
There are still 40 people in the evacuation order area in Sumas Prairie, according to Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr.
“We need those people to please get out of that area,” he said.
“The water levels there continue to fluctuate. We continue to monitor it, moment by moment, but you are putting our first responders, our rescue services, at risk by staying there should we have to go in there when this gets much more complicated.”
Serr asked those in the affected area who have not contacted authorities to “please let us know you’re there.”
Mayor Henry Braun said water from Washington state’s Nooksack River continues to flow northeast, across the Sumas Prairie, and water levels continue to rise toward the east of the prairie.
Braun also said the Barrowtown pump station, which is facing a surge of water from Washington state’s Nooksack River, is working at full capacity, but holding so far.
City water services to the prairie remain turned off, Braun said. Crews located a water-main break on Wednesday night, along with some additional breaks, and are working on repairs.
Abbotsford Fire Chief Darren Lee thanked the hundreds of volunteers who worked through the night to protect the facility with sandbags.
“If we can get through this without anybody getting hurt, I think it’s a testament to people’s professionalism, and good neighbours helping neighbours,” he said.
Braun said he’s not concerned about rainfall in Thursday’s weather forecast, but is worried about a forecast of 80 to 100 millimetres next week.
“We are still not pumping anywhere near the amount of water out of the system that is coming into the prairie from across the border,” he said.
Braun said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, B.C. Premier John Horgan, and multiple provincial ministers, who have offered their full support.
Braun said the cost alone for the dikes that failed was assessed a few years ago at $400 million, and there are many bridges, overpasses, roads and culverts to assess.
“We are by no way out of this yet,” Braun said.
—With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press