About 600 people have been forced to leave their homes in Abbotsford, BC, and while a number of evacuation orders are being removed, many are still in place, the city’s mayor said in an update Thursday.
Mayor Henry Braun and relief staff gave an update on the developments that took place overnight. Dozens of people were rescued on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 11 more people rescued overnight.
The water is receding in a few places, but Braun warned that the city “isn’t out of it for a long time,” and some situations will become more complicated especially as water continues to flow from the flooded Nooksack River in Washington state.
“This is a situation we are very closely monitoring,” Braun said. “The water has been down at a pretty good clip for the last 24 hours on the west side. But the Nooksack keeps coming across the border … and that’s why the water is rising.”
Braun said he spoke with one farmer who noticed that the water level had actually risen 15 centimeters along Interprovincial Highway, between roads No. 2 and No. 3.
RAIN IN PROVISION
Despite some rain expected Thursday, Braun said he is more concerned about the previous weather.
“I don’t care about today’s rain. What do I care about next week and what will come. It is predicted 80 to 100 millimeters of rain will come next week starting Tuesday,” he said. “That’s why I’m worried if we don’t fix those gaps, because the Nutbag could go back up.”
Braun said even more water is coming into the city system than is being pumped out.
“We just have to manage as best we can to prevent the water from entering Sumas Prairie,” he said. “That water can’t drain anywhere because it’s the lowest point. That water has to be pumped out with those Barrowtown pumps, so they were installed.”
Braun said it takes an estimate of how long the water will need to be pumped out of flooded areas.
“We don’t talk days. We talk weeks,” he said. “I just don’t know how many weeks.”
EVACUATED MENDAS LEVO
Evacuation orders in some places are beginning to rise, especially where there has been a smaller, localized flood, but officials are warning people not to become complacent.
“The local state of emergency continues to evolve and we will keep everyone up to date as possible,” Braun said. “The safety of Abbotsford residents remains everyone’s priority.”
Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr said many roads “are still affected.”
“People are frustrated. They want to go through our city,” he said. “But we have to make sure through engineering and other things that our roads are safe.”
Braun said there are 40 people in the evacuation zones who have not yet left their homes, adding that farmers in the town are “destroyed”.
“These farms are second, third, maybe even fourth generation farmers and they love their livestock, they love their land and they don’t want to move. I understand that,” Braun said. “They want to take care of their investments because a lot of them have lost their investments.”
An updated list of evacuation orders is available on the city’s website.