River Watch

Current Situation

The BC River Forecast Centre ended the High Streamflow Advisory for the Fraser River on June 15, 2017, including areas of the main stem river from the Fraser Canyon downstream to the ocean. 

June 15, 2017 Update - The Fraser River at Mission gauge is at 5.27m today, a decrease from yesterday’s 5.35m, and well below the June 4, 2017 level of 5.65m.

The BC River Forecast Centre has ended the High Streamflow Advisory for the Fraser River (Fraser Canyon to Vancouver). River levels along the lower Fraser River peaked on Tuesday-Wednesday and are now receding. Flows are expected to continue to decline through the rest of the week. A return to high flows again this season is unlikely.

June 13, 2017 Update - The River Forecast Centre is maintaining High Streamflow Advisory for:

  • Fraser River including areas of the main stem river from the Fraser Canyon downstream to the ocean

Flows on the lower Fraser River have been rising over the past two days in response to heavy rainfall in the headwaters last weekend. Flows are expected continue to rise through Tuesday with peak flows at the Fraser at Hope (Water Survey of Canada 08MF005) late-Tuesday evening of approximately 9,400 m3/s, and peak levels at Mission (08MH024) on Wednesday of approximately 5.3-5.4 m. Once rivers reach peak levels, flows are expected to recede through the remainder of the week.

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor river levels and will update the advisory as conditions warrant.

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. 

The City will continue to monitor river levels and will provide updates as conditions warrant on the City website, social media, and recorded message at City Hall at 604.465.2475.

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