Langley officials are preparing for high water on the Fraser River, but don’t expect serious danger based on current forecasts.
Early, warm temperatures combined with heavy snowpacks on Interior mountains have led to flooding in Grand Forks and other B.C. communities.
The Township has issued an evacuation alert for some low-lying areas along the river, but residents are not being asked to leave now.
Langley seems to be largely out of danger, said Ramin Seifi, manager of engineering and community development.
“It is not as bad as previously forecast,” Seifi said Tuesday.
Right now, the Fraser River has reached a level of 5.5 metres on the Mission gauge.
But the water must go a lot higher to breach Langley’s dike system.
The worst case scenario would be water reaching as high as 8.87 metres, said Seifi. That would overtop local dikes and lead to flooding in the land behind them, including parts of Glen Valley and around Fort Langley.
Fort Langley itself, built on a former island, would likely be above the floodwaters as it was in the 1948 flood. But during that event, it temporarily became an island, as the Fraser flowed around it.
Fortunately, current forecasts show the river won’t reach nearly that high. The Mission gauge is expected to see a peak of 6.5 to 7.0 metres by May 22, Seifi said. That’s well below the danger level for Langley.
The forecast predicts levels similar to those seen in 2012. That will likely mean several North Lagnley roads, possibly including parts of Allard Crescent in Derby Reach, and River Road in Glen Valley, could be partially flooded and closed, Seifi said.
It has also been common in past years of high water for Metro Vancouver to close some of its parks along the shoreline, including parts of Derby Reach Regional Park.
In 2007, a very high snowpack and a warm spring caused fears that Langley and the Lower Mainland could face a historic flood.
The waters receded without serious damage, but plans were in place to evacuate up to 3,000 people.
In that year and in the next few years, dikes were upgraded and repaired, and plans created that spring have been updated since then.
More information can be found on the Langley Prepared Facebook site.
Langley emergency planner Ginger Sherlock said there will be an open house on May 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for the public to meet local emergency planning and response personnel, and to learn what they can do in the event of an emergency.
The open house will be held at the Murrayville Firehall at 22170 50th Ave.