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B.C. floods: Hatzic evacuees on edge as rising lake floods homes

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: More than 400 homes and recreation properties remain under an evacuation alert in Mission' B.C. floods: More than 400 homes and recreation properties remain under an evacuation alert in Mission
WATCH: An evacuation order remains in place for more than 400 homes and recreational properties in Mission due to flooding from the Hatzic River. Residents of Shook Island and the Benbow Street neighbourhood still have no idea when they'll be allowed to return home. Grace Ke reports – Dec 1, 2021

As flood waters begin to recede in some parts of the Lower Mainland, evacuated residents of scores of properties in and around eastern Mission, B.C., remain on edge, with no clear timeline on when they can return home.

With the third in a series of powerful atmospheric rivers hitting the region Tuesday, the City of Mission declared a local state of emergency and ordered the residents of more than a dozen homes in the Benbow Street subdivision to evacuate.

Read more: Abbotsford, B.C. sets all-time November rainfall record with 540 mm

The Fraser Valley Regional District also ordered the evacuation or the nearby Everglades Resort on Hatzic Island, home to nearly 400 RVs and cabins.

“I had 10,000 texts, ‘You’ve got to get out of here, you’ve got to get out of here,'” Marilene Wolsey, a year-round Everglades resident, told Global News Tuesday as she stood thigh-deep in water.

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“Everyone is very worried. We have a lot invested here.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. government warned about low staffing levels at River Forecast Centre: report' B.C. government warned about low staffing levels at River Forecast Centre: report
B.C. government warned about low staffing levels at River Forecast Centre: report – Dec 1, 2021

Management at the resort estimate about 50 people live there 12 months a year.

By Wednesday, water had crept within a few feet of the door to Alysha Hall’s Benbow Street home. She’s now staying in Maple Ridge, but returned to try and clean up and help protect the property.

The situation, she said, was actually an improvement from two weeks prior when the the initial Nov. 14 atmospheric river hit the area, flooding her suite with about 12 cm of water.

“At 3:30 a.m. I got woken up, and it was like, ‘Hey, your place is flooded.’ So I crawled out of bed and started moving whatever I could, moved the couch,” she said.

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“I was in denial, I didn’t think it was going to come in the house.”

Neighbour Sam Molag woke up Wednesday to find his house completely surrounded by water, and the garage flooded.

Read more: B.C. gas supply: Trans Mountain optimistic it can restart pipeline in a few days

“I moved everything out,” Molag said. “I learned my lesson from the first time.

“I put sandbags out yesterday in the hops of keeping it out of the garage, but that was a failed attempt.”

The City of Mission delivered sandbags to residents along Benbow, where some have been prepping for weeks.

“The city has been wonderful,” resident Jane Christensen said.

“The first go-around we had to go up to the works yard to bag our own, but now they’re brining them here already done.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Sumas Prairie flood Wednesday evening update' B.C. floods: Sumas Prairie flood Wednesday evening update
B.C. floods: Sumas Prairie flood Wednesday evening update – Dec 1, 2021

A rainfall warning remained in effect for the Fraser Valley on Wednesday, but Environment Canada forecast the rains would subside by Wednesday evening.

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Debbie McKay, who sits on the Everglades’ Resort’s membership board, said it would still take some time before the full extent of the flooding was clear.

“Our conditions depend on the rain coming from the valley above us, which we get about 24 hours after it stops (and) the Fraser River, because when the Fraser river is too high the natural flow out of the lake can’t happen and you’re relying on the pumps,” she said.

McKay said a major problem was a set of culverts that drain Hatzic Lake into the Fraser River, which were too small to accommodate heavy rains.

The Benbow Street order was slated to remain in effect until Dec. 7, unless rescinded sooner, while there was no timeline for the Everglades order to lift.

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