MAP: Climate change to put Pitt Meadows, Richmond and Ladner at risk of major river flood

MAP: Climate change to put Pitt Meadows, Richmond and Ladner at risk of major river flood

Modelling shows that dikes would be insufficient to stop a previously unthinkable flood

New maps dramatically show just how much climate change could increase the scale and impact of a major Fraser River freshet flood.

The maps, which were produced by the Fraser Basin Council and based on models that incorporated a variety of factors, suggest that while the Fraser Valley would take the brunt of any flood like that which occurred in 1894, other areas will become more vulnerable as even larger disasters become more likely as the climate changes.

In particular, Pitt Meadows and most of eastern Richmond will be at increased risk.

The 1894 flood is roughly judged to have been a one-in-500-year event, meaning that in any one year, it had a 0.2 per cent chance of occurring. But as the climate has changed, and as it is forecast to continue, an 1894-scale flood becomes much more likely. Meanwhile, the scale of a one-in-500-year flood grows considerably.

Essentially, very rare events just become rare, and outsized and extreme cases become more possible.

Although snowpacks are likely to be smaller, as the climate changes, it is expected that the snow that does exist will melt much more rapidly. More precipitation is also expected during large rain events, and two factors could significantly boost the scale of a freshet, according to Fraser Basin Council senior program manager Steve Litke.

And that has real-world consequences.

Dikes surrounding much of Pitt Meadows might protect against a flood like that which occurred in 1894, but modelling shows that higher waters that could accompany a more-extreme flood would flow around the dikes and inundate almost the entirety of that city.

Meanwhile, the dikes that protect low-lying areas of Richmond won’t be high enough to fully keep back such high flood waters, and much of the north and east of the city could end up under water. A similar fate could befall Ladner, and highly developed parts of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

Although the maps released by the Fraser Basin Council are accompanied by a disclaimer saying they shouldn’t be treated of exactly where flooding will take place, they are based on extensive modelling and records of the region’s dikes.

(Click the slider in the photo below to see how climate change is expected to increase the flood risk to many areas)

.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cody Malawsky at the box lacrosse provincials in 2019. As the highly skilled player adds size he will dominate junior, predicts longtime coach Daren Fridge. (Tim McCormick/Special to The Langley Advance Times)
New addition to Langley Thunder has the genetics to excel at lacrosse, coach says

Cody Malawsky was selected first overall at the BC Junior A Lacrosse League Draft

Vancouver Giants forward Zack Ostapchuk has cracked the latest NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list (Chris Relke/Vancouver Giants)
Ostapchuk makes NHL list

Player with Langley-based Vancouver cracks latest NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list

A Fort Langley letter writer lays out why he disagrees with the Township’s suggestion to withhold permissive tax exemptions for churches that defy Provincial Health Orders (file photo)
LETTER: Township church tax move feels punitive, Langley man argues

Township looking at whether to give permissive tax exemption to churches holding in-person services.

Abbotsford football star Chase Claypool has signed an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand. (Air Jordan website)
Langley’s Chase Claypool signs with Nike’s Jordan brand

Abbotsford Senior Secondary School grad had to settle for knock-off shoes when he was a student

Someone bought a lottery ticket worth $4.2 million in Aldergrove (file)
Lottery ticket worth $4.2 million purchased in Aldergrove

Lotto 6/49 numbers were drawn Saturday

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read