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Fraser River on track for record peak in Langley, forecasts say

The river could hit levels it hasn’t seen in generations
A flood alert has been issued for residents living in low-lying areas along the Fraser River. (Township of Langley) A flood alert has been issued for residents living in low-lying areas along the Fraser River. (Township of Langley)

The Fraser River could reach levels next week that Langley hasn’t seen in 40 years, according to a forecast released Thursday by the provincial government.

The 10-Day Lower Fraser River Forecast expects the river levels to peak at 7.34 metres at the Mission Gauge on July 7.

As of Thursday, June 30, the river level had dipped slightly from a recent peak of 5.8 metres, and was hovering around 5.56 metres.

The forecast suggested the river levels would pass 6.22 metres on July 2, then hit 7.21 metres on July 6 before peaking the following day, and beginning to decline.

It’s considerably below the worst-ever flood in the Fraser Valley, the 1894 disaster, which saw levels of 8.89 metres. That flood, and the similar flood of 1948, temporarily turned Fort Langley into an island and seriously damaged farmsteads up and down the length of the Fraser Valley.

But if the worst case projections come to pass, it will be the highest level seen in decades.

READ ALSO: Flood advisory in place for Langley Township as Fraser River water level rises

READ ALSO: Evacuation alert issued for Langley residents near Fraser River

According to the Township of Langley’s flood response plan, door-to-door evacuations of the most-threatened properties could begin as soon as the water level hits 6.3 metres.

The Township has issued flood alerts to homes in danger zones, and is updating information at Sand for sandbags is available at the Township Operations Centre at 4700 224th Street, 24 hours a day.

The high water level threatens homes along the river, including on reserves of the Kwantlen First Nation on MacMillan Island, and the Katzie First Nation to the west of 208th Street.

It also could impact a number of businesses and farms along the river.

“We’re a little nervous about it getting up so high,” said Todd Meyer, district general manager of Doubletree Forest Products.

The company’s distribution yard is at the very end of 264th Street on the shore of the river.

Meyer said they’re hoping the property is high enough.

Moving their goods off the site isn’t possible, as the cost of relocating all the lumber would be “astronomical,” Meyer said.

“We’re addressing it as it happens,” he said.

The Fraser River has seen a number of high-water events in the last 20 years, most recently in 2018. However, in those cases it has only just exceeded the 6-metre mark.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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