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‘We’re holding our own’: Abbotsford B.C. mayor optimistic as new drone footage shows flooding

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Mayor of Abbotsford optimistic ahead of third atmospheric river' B.C. floods: Mayor of Abbotsford optimistic ahead of third atmospheric river
B.C. floods: Mayor of Abbotsford optimistic ahead of third atmospheric river – Nov 29, 2021

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he is “cautiously optimistic” ahead of a third atmospheric river hitting B.C.

Both municipal and military crews worked through the night on Sunday to pump water into so-called tiger dams in an effort to hold back floodwaters from the Sumas River, after two previous record-breaking storms forced flooded farms, caused landslides, and washed-out roads.

Click to play video: 'New drone footage from Abbotsford B.C. highlights widespread flooding' New drone footage from Abbotsford B.C. highlights widespread flooding
New drone footage from Abbotsford B.C. highlights widespread flooding – Nov 29, 2021

On Monday afternoon, Braun told a news conference that as of 4 a.m., sandbagging was complete for the Huntingdon Village area along the U.S. border, where 90 properties remain on evacuation order after the Nooksack River in Washington state topped its banks.

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“At this point, we are holding our own,” Braun said. “I am confident we have done all that we can do to keep our community safe.”

He also extended the local state of emergency, as the province extended its own state of emergency until Dec. 14.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ ahead of the next storm' B.C. floods: Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ ahead of the next storm
B.C. floods: Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ ahead of the next storm – Nov 29, 2021

Read more: ‘There’s nothing to stop it’: Abbotsford, B.C. braces for more floods as Nooksack River tops banks

Residents of a handful of properties on Whatcom Road were ordered to evacuate Sunday night because of a localized landslide, while other homes nearby were placed on evacuation alert.

Vye Road was closed Monday because of about eight to 10 inches of floodwater covering the road, Braun added.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Abbotsford on alert as third storm approaches' B.C. floods: Abbotsford on alert as third storm approaches
B.C. floods: Abbotsford on alert as third storm approaches – Nov 29, 2021

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Braun said that water from the Nooksack was just hitting the City of Sumas in Washington on Monday morning.

“The fact that it’s taken 19 hours for that water to get here is actually good news as it tells me there’s not as much volume as I was expecting.”

It was also good news that Abbotsford did not receive any water from the river in the eastern portion of the Sumas Prairie lake bottom, Braun added, as this is one of the most critically impacted areas.

Water levels in flooded areas of Sumas Prairie Lake bed remained stable.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Local state of emergency declared in the District of Hope' B.C. floods: Local state of emergency declared in the District of Hope
B.C. floods: Local state of emergency declared in the District of Hope – Nov 29, 2021

Read more: B.C. extends state of emergency as third atmospheric river looms

The third atmospheric river is forecast to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday and officials have warned that it could be the worst one yet.

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“It’s always been the third one that’s concerned me the most as we can only take so much,” Braun said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we can handle what’s coming across the border. But the next one, we’ll see.

“Fingers crossed.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Province preps emergency alert system' B.C. floods: Province preps emergency alert system
B.C. floods: Province preps emergency alert system – Nov 28, 2021

Once the water levels go down, he said work will turn towards rebuilding critical infrastructure to a higher standard.

“The work that has been done over the last few weeks is very helpful,” he said, “although that work is just a repair.”

He said the federal and provincial governments are part of the conversation about these key repairs.

Read more: B.C. floods: District of Hope declares local state of emergency, issues evacuation alerts

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Meanwhile, the District of Hope declared a state of local emergency Sunday to allow for any alerts and orders because of flooding. An evacuation alert was also issued to homes on Riverview Drive.

Mayor Peter Robb said there’s a lot of misinformation on social media and he’s cautioning residents to check the district’s website for information.

Read more: As B.C.’s next atmospheric river arrives Tuesday, here’s what to expect

“My frustration, a little bit, is with misinformation on social media that causes extra anxiety with the community and I wish they wouldn’t post things are that aren’t true on Facebook and other social media,” he said.

“It just adds to the anxiety of our community. It’s just not right and that’s a frustration.”

– with files from The Canadian Press

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