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B.C. floods: Abbotsford braces for two more atmospheric rivers

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Abbotsford flood watch Thursday' B.C. floods: Abbotsford flood watch Thursday
With heavy rain falling for much of the day, residents and emergency workers in Abbotsford are keeping a close eye on the water level, and hoping the repaired Sumas River dike holds. Rumina Daya reports – Nov 25, 2021

The mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., says now that the city has gotten through Wednesday’s storm, it will focus on reinforcing dikes and sandbagging ahead of two more atmospheric rivers.

Henry Braun said the region is expected to receive between 90 and 120 millimetres of rain Saturday and Sunday, with an additional 50 to 100 mm of rain Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Cumulatively, that is more water in total than the initial event, although over a longer period of time,” Braun said, referring to a devastating storm that led to flooding in the region earlier this month.

Repairs to the main portion of the dike are complete, and work is being done to add more height to a large stretch of the structure.

“We know the storm is coming,” Braun said. “At this point, we’re as ready as we can be.”

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A flood warning remains in effect for the Sumas River, including the Sumas Prairie and surrounding area, as officials continue to closely monitor water levels.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Abbotsford flood watch Thursday' B.C. floods: Abbotsford flood watch Thursday
B.C. floods: Abbotsford flood watch Thursday – Nov 25, 2021

Thursday’s rain did have an impact on the city’s critical Barrowton pump station’s ability to reduce current floodwater levels in the area, but there was no known increase in water in the Sumas Prairie.

Braun said while they’re heading in a positive direction, it will still be weeks before the still flooded water on the eastern portion of the prairie will clear up.

Read more: Justin Trudeau tours flood-affected areas of Abbotsford, B.C.

“We have never run those pumps full tilt for this long ever, so fingers crossed that they’re going to hold,” Braun said.

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Braun said he does not expect a change to evacuation orders before the middle of next week.

The Canadian Armed Forces have completed sandbagging in the Clayburn Village area, while sediment removal continues in the Matsqui Prairie.

Parts of B.C.’s south coast, including the Lower Mainland, the Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, North Shore Mountains, are under a flood watch.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit Abbotsford during a visit to B.C. on Friday.

He is expected to tour the flood zone and meet with B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, Braun, Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver, Matsqui First Nation Chief Alice McKay, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, first responders and volunteers.

Trudeau will later meet with Premier John Horgan in Victoria and hold a 5:30 p.m. media availability.

— with files from Andrea Macpherson and Elizabeth McSheffrey

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