The Fraser River is running high this time of year. A local resident took this photo of the Bedford Channel in Fort Langley on July 7, 2020. (Walt Brouwer/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township lifts evacuation alert as flooding threat drops

People are still advised to avoid the Fraser River due to fast running water

The Township has called off its July 3 evacuation alert for residents along the Fraser River.

The BC River Forecast Centre reports that a high stream flow advisory remains in effect for the Fraser River, however centre staff also forecast that flows will slowly decline in the coming days, alleviating the imminent threat. The Township alert was for the unprotected flood plain areas of Northwest Langley, Glen Valley and Fort Langley.

But residents are still reminded to use caution and stay clear of the river which is fast-flowing due to the runoff. As well, the banks are potentially unstable during high stream flow periods.

Roland Zwaag, the Township director of public works, is in charge of the municipality’s flood response and works in conjunction with the Langley Emergency Program when the water’s a threat.

He noted that local governments along this section of the river cooperate on diking strategies, flood planning and strategies.

Much of the land that would be affected is privately owned so any diking on those lands would have to be handled by the Provincial Diking District.

“They would have to make an application,” he said of private land owners who want to do any diking.

The flood threat typically peaks mid-June. The recent flood warning was the third high water event of 2020, a rare occurrence, Zwaag noted.

“We had three peaks. It is not unusual to get more than one. What was unusual this year was with the amount of rainfall upstream from us,” he explained.

The river was running high, there’s still snowpack in the Interior that has not melted and there was rainfall, all factors that contributed to the concern, he explained.

But the province has been experiencing cooler than average temperatures in recent months, making the annual freshet better than expected. He said the biggest threat is likely over for this year.

“The snowpack that remains it not the major driver. It’s the rain,” Zwaag said.

The worst flooding of 2020 was due to the Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 rains, he noted.

“The Township was relatively hard hit,” he said.

The municipality is still dealing with the impact of that weather event. He said there’s a slope in the area of 88th Avenue and Armstrong Road/248th Street that “still has the potential to come down.”

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