The latest on flooding, recovery efforts in B.C. on Dec. 1 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The latest on flooding, recovery efforts in B.C. on Dec. 1

Crews dismantling a damaged portion of Bottletop Bridge along the Coquihalla Highway, Nov. 30, 2021.
Image Credit: TWITTER/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

The B.C. River Forecast Centre projected the Coldwater River to rise again in Merritt, but nowhere near water levels that flooded the city earlier this month.

As rain and snowmelt in the Coquihalla Highway region that runs into the Coldwater River rushes down the mountainsides, river discharge Thursday is expected to be less than a third of what rushed through Merritt on Nov. 15.

The river forecast centre recorded nearly 300 cubic metres per second of water in the Coldwater River at Merritt on Nov. 15, but it was expected to barely reach 70 cubic metres per second on Dec. 1.

However, flood warnings remain in place for much of southern B.C., including the Coldwater, Similkameen and Tulameen rivers.

More information can be found on the B.C. River Forecast Centre website here.

City workers in Merritt, joined by contractors and military personnel, have reinforced dikes in preparation for the last atmospheric river storm forecasted to hit B.C.

READ MORE: Flooded B.C. highways prompt more flights, bigger aircraft from Kelowna to Vancouver

Day access to parts of Merritt still under evacuation was reinstated this morning, as it was deemed safe for those residents again.

In the Lower Mainland, more Abbotsford residents were evacuated yesterday due to the rainfall and subsequent filling of the Sumas River.

This month, over 540 millimetres of rain fell over the city, which is one third of the city's normal annual rainfall, Mayor Henry Braun said in a news conference today.

At the news conference, he said that although rain wasn't actively falling over the city at 2 p.m. today, run off and snowmelt from nearby mountains is expected to impact the Sumas River in the coming days.

He said Baker, Vedder and Sumas mountains will have continued run off, putting the city at risk.

Warmer than normal temperatures in B.C. in recent days have also melted mountain snowpack that would normally remain on the mountains in November and early December.

Anticipated snowmelt was one of the reasons the District of Hope placed 114 properties along the Coquihalla River on evacuation alert Tuesday.

On a positive note, cities in Washington state indicated they don't expect the flooding to worsen in the coming days, while the Nooksack River has crested and is not expected to breach its banks again.

READ MORE: Flood warnings issued for several B.C. rivers, dozens of weather warnings in effect

Although the Nooksack River ends at the Pacific without crossing the international boundary, overflow was previously impacting the Sumas River and rushing into the Sumas Prairie.

Mayor Braun added that the Barrowtown floodgates, which allow water from Sumas to pass into the Fraser River, were closed this morning because of the rising Fraser River.



He does not expect Sumas River water levels to rise and further impact Abbotsford, but he did say the water in the Sumas Lake bed will take several weeks to drain.

"Water is going to be there for a number of weeks, and we don't really know what's under there yet before the water recedes," Braun said at the press conference.

READ MORE: Uptick in tiny home sales continue amid Okanagan housing crunch

The extensive rain yesterday has further saturated the ground, and Highway 1 from Popkum to Hope remains closed due to the risk of mudslides.

According to Drive B.C., there is no estimated time of reopening, but crews will continue to evaluate road conditions.

Highways 99 and 3 continue to be the only routes connecting the Lower Mainland to B.C.'s Interior for essential travel, with Highway 99 restricted for vehicles above 14,500 kilograms.

Check Drive B.C. here for the latest on road conditions.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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