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‘If there’s a breach, we go from zero to 100’: Abbotsford, B.C. on high flood alert Tuesday

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Abbotsford braces for another big storm' B.C. floods: Abbotsford braces for another big storm
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun discusses what the community doing is to prepare from the increased flood risk from the next atmospheric river storm – Nov 30, 2021

The Fraser Valley is bracing for more flooding Tuesday as the third atmospheric river hits B.C.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said Tuesday it has been raining since about 3:30 a.m.

“The floodgates are open and that’s great news because that water that we took on overnight and yesterday afternoon is heading back out to the Fraser,” Braun told Global News.

“So I am optimistically hopeful we’re going to get through this round three.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Sumas mayor on bracing for possible flooding from the Nooksack River' B.C. floods: Sumas mayor on bracing for possible flooding from the Nooksack River
B.C. floods: Sumas mayor on bracing for possible flooding from the Nooksack River – Nov 30, 2021

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He said he was concerned increased snowmelt could cause the Fraser River to rise even further so city officials remain on high alert.

There is still concern snowmelt from Mount Baker would run into the Nooksack River in Washington State, which if it rises enough and breaches its dike system, would then affect water levels in Abbotsford.

“It’s the breaches that cause us the pain down here,” Braun said.

“If there’s a breach we go from zero to 100 right away.”

Water levels on the north side of Highway 1 near Castle Fun Park started to rise Tuesday morning so Braun said some targeted evacuations have been issued in that area.

Several roads are closed in the Matsqui Prairie region in the northern part of Abbotsford and there has been some significant pooling in the Matsqui Prairie and North Parallel Road area, Braun said.

While there is some localized flooding, Braun said Tuesday afternoon overall, the forecast is positive for the next few days.

The Sumas River continues to flow into the Fraser River, the dikes are ready and water levels in the Sumas Prairie have dropped by six inches.

Braun also said officials in Washington State are not expected the Nooksack River to overflow at this time.

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“I am confident we have done all that we can do to keep our community safe as we go through our final weather event, for this week anyway,” Braun added.

Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack remains closed Tuesday. Braun said he does not have a timeline for when that will reopen.

Sandbags ready at the Albert Dyck Park Tuesday morning. Nic Amaya / Global News

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Read more: As third storm pounds B.C., Highway 99 to close and concern grows for North Coast

On Tuesday morning, Sumas Mayor Kyle Christensen told Global News the new weather system will cause the waters to rise but they are also “cautiously optimistic.”

Christensen said crews will be actively clearing any blockages and debris to make sure the water can flow and not breach the dike system.

He said they have been in constant contact with Abbotsford officials and they are working together.

“The next 24 hours, our concern is just with the increased water levels. Most of our waterways already have a big build-up of water and they haven’t had time to drain out before this next weather system,” Christensen added.

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