New evacuation order issued as flood-ravaged southern B.C. faces brunt of fresh storms

A new evacuation order has been issued in southern British Columbia as another atmospheric river drenches the province, worsening the impacts of widespread floods and mudslides.

Rain will continue to fall until Sunday afternoon, according to Environment Canada, which issued a rainfall warning for most of southwest B.C. Up to 120 millimetres of rain is expected in the region.

The new evacuation order was issued for the Huntingdon Village area of Abbotsford, southeast of Metro Vancouver, in the Fraser Valley.

The order was issued at 3:15 a.m. PT. It covers residents within the following boundaries:

  • Sumas Way to the west.

  • A Street and 2nd Avenue to the east.

  • Farmer Road to the north.

  • The U.S. border to the south.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said on Sunday that floodwaters from across the border in Washington state entered the area, made up of rainfall and snowmelt from nearby Mount Baker.

“All that snow is melting and contributing and adding to the rainfall, which has been heavy all night,” he said.

“There’s nowhere else for this water to go. The land has absorbed it — it’s like a sponge and it’s full.”

Braun said the floodwaters coming into the city were not from the Nooksack River across the border.

There were fears the river could breach its dikes and flow toward the Fraser Valley, but Braun said the city would not know until Sunday afternoon. The river was expected to reach a “moderate flood” stage then, based on a Saturday forecast.

The Nooksack River, which flows from Washington state to British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, is expected to be at a ‘moderate flood’ stage on Sunday afternoon. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said floodwaters currently causing evacuation orders were not from the river. (Whatcom County Government/Twitter)

The Fraser Valley region has been under flood watch since Friday, as has most of southwest B.C., including regions of Vancouver Island.

High streamflow advisories were also issued by the River Forecast Centre for the Upper Columbia and East Kootenay regions in the Interior.

Regions in the southern Interior and low-lying areas north of Pemberton, B.C., were placed on evacuation alert on Saturday afternoon as a flood was issued for the Similkameen and Tulameen rivers.

Evacuation alerts mean residents must be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice. Evacuation orders mean residents should leave immediately.

Anyone placed under an evacuation order should leave the area immediately.

To find an evacuation centre close to you, visit the Emergency Management B.C. website.

Evacuees are encouraged to register with Emergency Support Services online, whether or not they access services at an evacuation centre.

Road conditions can be checked at DriveBC.

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