River Watch

Current Situation

Updated Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 9:30am

The Fraser River at Mission today measured 5.92m. The river levels are expected to remain consistent.  The water is not  expected to reach 2012 levels. The public is still encouraged to use caution around the dikes and stay away from waterways. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 2:08pm

The Fraser River at Mission today measured 5.83m. Forecasts expect levels to reach a peak of over 6 metres by May 24 but it is not expected to see levels reach those that were seen in 2012. The public is still encouraged to use caution around the dikes and stay away from waterways.

Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 4:00pm

The Fraser River at Mission is at 5.95m today. The level of the river is expected to remain at this level throughout the long weekend. 

City staff continue to conduct daily inspections of the dikes. No evacuation alerts are in place in Pitt Meadows at this time as we have an excellent diking system that was built to withstand rising water up to what was experienced in 1894, when the watermark at Mission reached 8.89 metres (29.17ft). The City is monitoring water levels in areas outside the diking system.

For current, accurate information, check back on this page, or follow the City on Facebook or Twitter.

See real-time rivel levels at the Mission gauge.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 4:31pm

The Fraser River at Mission is at 5.82m today. The current BC River Forecast Centre is predicting that levels could reach 6.7m on the Mission gauge by May 21.

City staff continue to conduct daily inspections of the dikes. No evacuation alerts are in place in Pitt Meadows at this time as we have an excellent diking system that was built to withstand rising water up to what was experienced in 1894, when the watermark at Mission reached 8.89 metres (29.17ft). The City is monitoring water levels in areas outside the diking system.

For current, accurate information, check back on this page, or follow the City on Facebook or Twitter.

See real-time rivel levels at the Mission gauge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 3:00pm

The Fraser River at Mission is at 5.5m today, an increase of 0.2m since yesterday.  The current BC River Forecast Centre is predicting that levels could reach between 6.0m to 6.6m on the Mission gauge in the next 7-10 days (approximately May 22).   6m to 6.6m is similar to 2012 river levels.  Continued warmer than normal weather and ongoing accelerated snowmelt are expected to lead to ongoing rapid rises on the Fraser River throughout this week and next.   A High Streamflow Advisory remains in effect for the Lower Fraser River.  A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are expected to rise rapidly. 

There is no immediate risk of flooding in areas protected by dikes; however, water is running quickly and there is considerable debris in the Fraser. Pitt Meadows staff are currently performing routine dike assessments and inspections, dike maintenance, and other flood preparedness activities.

Residents are asked to use caution in and around the dikes and waterways.  Please keep pets out of, and away from, fast moving water.

Warmer than normal temperatures across BC has led to a much faster, and earlier runoff for the Fraser River.  Many gauges, including Mission’s, are above their historic flows for this early in the freshet season.

Our diking system protects our community. See the Fraser River flood stages and response.

High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected.  Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
 
Flood Watch means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull.  Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.

Flood Warning means that river levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result. 

About the Freshet

Annually in May and June, British Columbia experiences a freshet. This occurs when accumulated snow at higher elevations melts, causing river levels to rise. 

Due to rainfall and rapid snow melt, a high streamflow advisory may issued for the Lower Fraser River. A high streamflow advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas, outside of the diking system is possible.

If river levels rise, consider the following safety tips:

  • Stay alert for changing conditions, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near waterways.
  • Stay away from water courses and obey cautionary signage.
  • If you are going to be camping or hiking, avoid small creeks and rivers as their channels tend to be narrow and can fill up quickly.
  • If you are planning to travel, know current highway conditions and any road closures. Check Drive BC's major events before you go.

Boaters should be aware that high water areas may contain debris and submerged objects that are not visible, presenting risk, and strong wake activity striking the banks can cause rapid and severe damage to dikes and retaining walls.

It's always a good idea to be prepared. Have a personal emergency supply kit ready containing food, water, important documents, prescription medications, first aid kit, important papers, a flashlight, battery or wind-up powered radio, blankets, pet needs, toiletries, etc. Go to Emergency Management BC for more information on preparing your emergency kit.

Background

Over 95% of Pitt Meadows land base lies within the floodplain for the Fraser and to a smaller degree the Pitt River. To minimize the impact to the community from floods on these river systems, there is an extensive diking system in place with 31.5 kilometres of agricultural dikes (earthen dikes built in the 1950's to no particular standard) and 32.6 km of standard dikes. The City of Pitt Meadows serves as the local diking authority for Pitt Meadows with responsibilities extending into Maple Ridge along Wharf Street to Princess Street in Lower Hammond and to 128th Avenue and McKinney Creek in West Maple Ridge.

The provincial government remains prepared and ready to assist local governments. In the event of flooding, local governments respond first by activating emergency response plans.

The last time the City of Pitt Meadows suffered severe flooding was during May/June of 1948. Between 1976 and 1986 the dikes protecting Pitt Meadows were upgraded to protect against Fraser River levels reached during the 1894 flood.

River Stations

For real-time water level readings on the Fraser River at Mission, visit the Water Survey of Canada website.

Additional Information