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New evacuation orders needed in Abbotsford, but mayor confident everything has been done to keep people safe

The third of three storms is hitting the community now.
FILE PHOTO: Catastrophic flooding in Abbotsford.

While some new evacuations had to be signed, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says the forecast is positive for his drenched community.

During a press conference Tuesday, Nov. 30, Braun noted waters were rising along North Parallel Road near the well-known Castle Fun Park and evacuation orders had to be signed for some properties due to the arrival of heavy rain and higher waters. Roads have had to be closed as well due to flooding and damage.

"We are seeing some significant pooling of water both in the Matsqui Prairie and North Parallel Road area," he said.

Braun is also aware of at least one small landslide due to the land being oversaturated.

However, the outlook is positive right now, overall.

"Regional water modelling projections for today and for the next few days indicate a stabilization of overall water levels across our region despite the rain we are receiving and will continue to receive into tomorrow.," he says.

The floodgates between the Sumas River and Fraser River remain open, meaning the Sumas River can handle larger amounts of water right now. At the same time the Sumas Prairie flood is continuing to recede, with a six-inch drop reported in the last 24 hours, despite the rain.

In Whatcom county south of the border things are looking better as well, in regards to what impacts Canada.

"At this time they're not expecting the Nooksack River to overflow its banks or in the next few days," said Braun. "However, the situation remains fluid."

He had recently spoken with the mayor of Sumas, who said water levels on their side of the border were dropping as well. Along the border, a berm has been created to direct water away from the neighbourhood of Huntingdon in Abbotsford.

The dikes are as ready as they can be, he added, and are being patrolled at night to make sure they hold.

Highway 1 remains closed between Abbotsford and Chilliwack due to flooding; Braun noted that's a provincial issue and he didn't have an update on its condition. Currently, the only route into Chilliwack from Vancouver is via Highway 7 which is only open to essential traffic.

Looking forward, Braun said recovery efforts will require help from the provincial and federal governments.

"As we continue to move toward recovery our long-term focus, in partnership with the provincial and federal governments, will continue to be on how we are going to rebuild our critical infrastructure to ensure we do not experience another event of this magnitude, or worse," he said. "The support of both the province and federal government for the vital upgrades we need to see completed will make the difference between us potentially dealing with another mass flooding event in the future that impacts our farmers and shuts down our key transportation corridors."