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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Preparing for potential flooding in BC:

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

This is the info from our township's website, but information will be available for every city.

At the RCMP Victim Services, we are on high alert with re. to the potential flooding.

So are all ER services and departments.

Gearing Up For Potential Flood

The Township of Langley is gearing up for a potential flood, and is asking neighbours to help neighbours to ensure everyone is prepared and safe.

More than 3,000 people in north Langley could be evacuated if the Fraser River overflows its banks this spring - and the rest of the community would likely feel the effects through power outages and problems with transportation, water, sewer, and electricity.

"We don't want people to be alarmed," said Langley Emergency Coordinator Ginger Sherlock. "But we do want them to be prepared."

The Township of Langley is currently getting ready for what could be the largest flood in the area since 1948. Every year, a freshet occurs in late May and early June, where snowpacks on the mountains melt and the resulting water runs off into local rivers. This year, according to the Ministry of Environment, the snowpacks in the Nechako Mountain Range northwest of Prince George, and in the Upper Fraser, Lower Fraser, and Thompson River regions, are abnormally high. With so many snowpacks at record levels, the concern is that the current cool weather will be followed by a sudden warming that will create a rapid runoff and swell the Fraser River beyond its banks.

That situation occurred 59 years ago and much of north Langley ended up under water.

"All we have to look at is history," said Sherlock. "In 1948, Fort Langley was cut off from the rest of the municipality for two weeks. People need to be aware that this might happen."

"There is the public perception that we have evolved beyond the worry of flooding, but we need to be safe, not sorry," she said.

If nature does take its toll, two scenarios could result, said Sherlock. In the first, the water would rise to the level where it overflows the dykes. In the second, high water could be held back by the dykes for several weeks, but a flood could happen if there was a breach in the dyke.

Dykes in north Langley are currently being assessed and upgraded to help hold back the water, and the Township is meeting with other municipalities, B.C. Hydro, and other utility providers to coordinate response efforts.

Residents near the river are asked to think about where they could stay should a flood happen, and to make plans to secure their livestock and valuables. Sherlock is encouraging them to prepare a grab and go kit, and to remember their pets in their evacuation plans.

Businesses as well need to think about what they will do with their products, equipment, and hazardous materials should a flood happen. Companies throughout the community must also be aware that staff who are employed in Langley but live on the other side of the Fraser River may not be able to make it in to work. If flooding, occurs, Sherlock pointed out, the Albion Ferry will not be working and normal transportation routes may be flooded, causing traffic to be rerouted and creating delays.

During the week of May 7, Emergency Preparedness staff and volunteers will be going door to door to homes and businesses in the potentially affected area, and providing them with packages containing highly-detailed information and checklists of what to pack up and do before, during, and after a flood.

Block Watch, a free, police-supported community program of neighbours helping neighbours, is working with the Langley Emergency Program to host an evening on emergency preparedness, called "Ready or Not." The workshop will be held at the George Preston Recreation Centre, 20699 - 42nd Ave, on Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m.

As well, a community meeting to update residents and business owners, and to answer their questions, will be scheduled for the near future.

The good news, said Sherlock, is that there is plenty of time for residents to become educated and evacuated: "We are very lucky," she said. "A flood is not like an earthquake. We have time to prepare."

Experts are currently monitoring the snowpack melt and the weather, and residents who must leave their homes should flooding occur would be given three to four days' notice.

Extensive information about flood preparedness is available online at http://www.langleyemergencyprogram.bc.ca

Map that shows flood plains (Lower Fraser Valley) and areas of potential danger of flooding/freshet:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/public_safety...d/sector_sw.pdf

BC Provincial Community Emergency Planning, Response and Recovery :

http://www.pep.bc.ca/Community/community.html

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Harry

Well,

even though they have dykes, Vancouver Airport (YVR) is only 4.3 metres above average sealevel. Now add the tides, which are much bigger here than in SA. Now add spring tide.

Chilliwack, way inland up the Fraser River, is only 30ft above the sea. So this river is huge and has no real slope here on its way to the sea. That's why it has such a huge delta to start with. We are bound to have trouble beynd 15 May...and the time to watch out for is around Spring Tide. If we get a westerly gale on top of that, it is not going to be fun.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
Well,

even though they have dykes, Vancouver Airport (YVR) is only 4.3 metres above average sealevel. Now add the tides, which are much bigger here than in SA. Now add spring tide.

Chilliwack, way inland up the Fraser River, is only 30ft above the sea. So this river is huge and has no real slope here on its way to the sea. That's why it has such a huge delta to start with. We are bound to have trouble beynd 15 May...and the time to watch out for is around Spring Tide. If we get a westerly gale on top of that, it is not going to be fun.

The map showing the flood plains is pretty sobering, Harry.

I am thankful we are on a "hill" but we will be ready to cope without power for a while if the flooding is as bad as 1948. This week I plan to stock up on water and non-perishables as well.

Hubby is also looking at the different work places where he goes as some of the medical practices will have to ensure their computer equipment is moved to a different floor, especially the ones in Fort Langley.

Better to be prepared than sorry. :D

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Just a reminder for folks in the affected areas :

Public Information Session: Freshet 2007

A joint public information session will be hosted by the Township of Langley and the City of Abbotsford.

Police, Fire, Engineering, Water Resources, and Emergency Planning staff from both municipalities and Langley School District will be available to address questions or issues. The meeting will be:

Tuesday, May 15, 7:00 pm

Trinity Western University

Click here for map and details

http://www.langleyemergencyprogram.bc.ca/i...=9&Itemid=1

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Back from the town hall meeting re. Flood Watch 2007.

Good to see the level of emergency preparedness for this potential "once in 200 years" flooding scenario.

Around Ft Langley about 3,200 people would have to evacuate if it gets to flooding...up in Coquitlam we are talking a potential 20,000 people who would have to evacuate.

Ministry of Agriculture was represented too (some farmers have to move their livestock) and businesses n the flood zones were advised to begin moving temperature-sensitive products.

More updates have been posted on the Township of Langley's web site (see links in previous posts), but places like Hope, Mission, Abbotsford, etc would have their own postings.

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Cathy K

I'm am still amazed at how well things work in Canada. The way this problem is being handled, shows how society should work. We're keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine. It's nice to see that a comprehensive plan is in place.

Cathy K.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
I'm am still amazed at how well things work in Canada. The way this problem is being handled, shows how society should work. We're keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine. It's nice to see that a comprehensive plan is in place.

Cathy K.

What I appreciate Cathy, is the levelheadedness, the calmness - no media hype or any loud people at mtg last night.

Just very calm and well-prepared people who say this potential disaster has a 'love thy neighbour' approach (making sure all are safe) and that if all plan and prepare beforehand, it will be an inconvenience and not an emergency.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Adele

How are you folks preparing in the Surrey-area?

I am also concerned for Pasqual/Herman & Lisa and the rest of the folks at SA Sausage Shop as I think they are pretty much in the flood zone too.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/public_safety..._masterplan.pdf

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Adele

Ingrid,

Folks in Surrey don't seem to be as concerned as the Langley crowd and if they were they have not gone to areas that are some distance from flood zones. In Cloverdale where I live we have little canals but those are storm water run-offs not rivers/stream connections. We do have one river that has flooded in the past, but the city has done some major upgrades in the last 5 years with ALL the tributary rivers.

So If there is some problems, then I think they will contact homes that would stand to have the most damage.

The school brought in a Team from the Army and Navy to explain to the kids why they may see more of the military in the area, and how they can be of service to us. Apparently the Hostel at the Bible College connected to our school is being used as a HQ for these guys and so we will be seeing them a lot.

:D Ladies, for some eye Canada - get in touch with me....;-)

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
So If there is some problems, then I think they will contact homes that would stand to have the most damage.

Ja, in Ft Langley they have done a lot of house-to-house calls over the past few weeks to inform folks.

My heart goes out to the farmers who have to move their livestock "just in case."

At least there is fore-warning, eh? :D

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Adele

Well I thought it was so cool how they (the military) came to the school and visited each class and let the kids ask whatever questions they wanted.

Well boys will be boys and the Gr. 1 class that I am in wanted to know all about the guns and the bombs. NOTHING to do with flooding. Until the Someone or other named Donovan explained about the Reverse osmosis machine thingeymagik...he did use language that had the boys very involved. So they at least did learn something and asked questions in the end like: one kid who wanted to know if he could call them to clean his mom's bathroom each time it flooded. :D It the machine could suck up all the dirty water and give them new water...Kids you gotta love them.

But yes I think it is great how they are expecting the worst and preparing for it. The one Naval officer said he had been down to New Orleans right after Katrina and was there for 10 months, so they had an idea of what to expect, even if they were not expecting it to be that bad.

Kinda makes you impressed living in a first world country that is reasonably pro-active not re-active. I think of how many people in SA have lost their lives because they don't heed the warnings and continue to rebuild homes right on the river banks.

When I think of floods and rescues, I can't help recall the one flood where an SA Army saved a woman and her newborn who had just been born in a tree.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
When I think of floods and rescues, I can't help recall the one flood where an SA Army saved a woman and her newborn who had just been born in a tree.

That was awesome!

As I recall it happened in Mozambigue.

Was quite something...one of the Guinness Book of Records, for sure!

Kids in that class sound adorable! :D

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Harry

That scene with the ( I think Puma) helicopter and the guy hanging from it, treating the woman in the tree, was part of CNN's opening montage for its news service for a very long time. I guess they did not realise that the guy doing that was a "hated white South African"...otherwise they would have removed it instantly, I'm sure.

Here in Canada there was also a History Channel or a Nova TV programme about both that event and the case of the SAAF guy that went down the hoist line of a helicopter and came up with the two or three Mozambique kids in his arms as the house disappeared underneath them. In the interview he said he could not live with himself having to choose which one to leave to die....so he just somehow found the strength to bring them all up to the helicopter in his arms.

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Adele

Sorry Ingrid this is soooo :-( :D But, I so love the little ones.

To realize the importance in educating young ones, it took a child, someone who was in Grade 3 (with my daughter, who I had previously helped in Grade 1) saying to me "Thank you for helping to teach me to read and write and how to count.

He could not hold a pencil properly until I sat down and spent 45 minutes showing him how and why we hold it the way we do. His printing improved instantly and when he had a test he aced in Grade 3 he came to me to say thanks because I had taught him something in Grade 1 which he had remembered.

I don't think many people realize the value and what our teachers give to these little kids. The most important skills they will ever need in their entire lives. Reading and Writing. Yes they work on it throughout their school careers, but the foundation is laid in Grades K - 1. Well I only realized it when this child came up to me.

And the kids continue to 'teach' me about me and the importance of my life to them.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
Sorry Ingrid this is soooo :-( :D But, I so love the little ones.

Adele, seeing that you have such a heart for kids, maybe you could use these fliers I did for the RCMP Victim Services? They were handed out at the town hall meeting on Tuesday, so are meant for public information:

For parents: http://www.zebrax.net/images/FloodWatchHelpingKid.pdf

For kids: http://www.zebrax.net/images/FeetDry07.pdf

Edited by Ingrid Hurrell

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Here is a better map of the flood plains of the Lower Fraser River :

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/floodwatch/i...-floodplain.pdf

Flood Watch

For most Lower Mainland residents the warm sunny days of spring and early summer mean beaches, picnics and patios. But this year, those with homes and businesses near the Fraser River will spend those days carefully watching the water level.

Over the winter, areas that drain into the Fraser Basin, experienced higher than normal snow levels. So far the spring has been cool and rainy and the snow has been slow to melt. The fear is a sudden spike in temperatures or heavy rains could elevate river levels quickly and dramatically.

That would be devastating for the 327,000 people living in the Fraser River flood plain. Damage to homes, farms and businesses could total more than $6 billion. Families could be displaced from flooded homes for weeks, farmers would need to evacuate their livestock to higher ground, and even those living at higher elevations could find themselves dealing with washed out roads, rail lines and potential power outages.

This spring, the provincial government is spending $33 million to build up dykes that protect communities. The province has seen serious flooding like this before. Over the last 100 years, the Fraser has flooded 25 times. The biggest flood was in 1894 but with few people living in the area at the time, damage to property was minimal. It was a much different story in 1948.

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/floodwatch/

For those folks in S.Africa (or elsewhere) who are interested in reading up on the 1948 flooding, here's a link :

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/floodwatch/h...ric-floods.html

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jpd

There was also a floodscare in 1999. At the time I was living about 20m from the Fraser river in New Westminster. The concern at the time was also that a sudden spike in the temparature would create the flooding conditions. Thankfully, it did not happen at the time, and there was a gradual thaw.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
There was also a floodscare in 1999. At the time I was living about 20m from the Fraser river in New Westminster. The concern at the time was also that a sudden spike in the temparature would create the flooding conditions. Thankfully, it did not happen at the time, and there was a gradual thaw.

We all sincerely hope it turns out the same way, jpd, as the concern is that it could be a "once in 200 years' flood."

That could be devastating to farmers, businesses, home-owners, etc.

We are very safe ourselves in (south) Langley but I will be involved with Victim Services in the event of a flood.

We have a special mtg tomorrow night in this regard.

The RCMP will be on duty 24/7, with check-points and barricades etc, (in areas where evacuations will have to take place) along with marine and air support. Zero tolerance for looting!

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Update for the folks in SA:

Flood watch stepped up on Fraser as B.C. enters 'critical week'

High water expected to move into the Valley this week

Glenda Luymes, The Province

Published: Sunday, June 03, 2007

We'll soon know if we're in for the flood of the century.

The Fraser River is expected to rise dangerously high over the next week, matching the second-largest flow ever measured at the Mission gauge and peaking at over seven metres.

"It's a time to be aware and to be prepared, but it's not a time to be unduly alarmed," provincial Public Safety Minister John Les said yesterday.

Riverside communities across the province remain at the mercy of the weather as a rain-bearing storm system is expected to move inland off the Pacific Ocean tomorrow, adding water to rivers already swollen by melted snow.

Yesterday afternoon, the provincial River Forecast Centre altered its earlier high-water predictions and issued a flood warning, its highest level of alert, for the Upper Fraser region, including Prince George, McBride and Quesnel.

"The water level on the upper Fraser River is expected to rise close to the record high . . . with the Fraser River at Prince George being at about flood stage by late Sunday night or Monday," said Allan Chapman with the River Forecast Centre.

Lyle Larsen, flood-hazard technician for the Upper Fraser region, said there are only a handful of people who live on the flood plain in Prince George.

"It's not like the Fraser Valley. We don't have the diking systems, but we also don't have the amount of people," he said.

Larsen said homes and businesses will be evacuated when flooding becomes imminent.

In the Fraser Valley, 47 dairy farmers on Barnston Island, Nicomen Island and parts of Glen Valley and Agassiz have been advised to relocate their animals in advance of potential flooding. Only a few have complied.

"One of the last things you want to do is disturb your herd but, in some places, the risk is going to make it worth it," said Cornelis Hertgers, president of the B.C. Milk Producers Association.

The provincial government will provide partial reimbursement of transportation, feed and housing for the animals, but it remains unclear exactly where all the animals will go if a mass evacuation is necessary.

At a river level of seven metres, land outside the dikes will bear the brunt of the high water, while newly upgraded dikes are expected to hold the river back from its flood plain and the hundreds of

thousands of people who live upon it.

Debbie Kleisterlee has lived on the banks of the Fraser River in Maple Ridge for 16 years. Watching the river rapidly rising, she said she's much more nervous about flooding this week than at any time in the past.

"Everyone is talking about it. You get a sense of security when someone says they don't think it's going to happen, and then you hear something else that just makes your heart sink," she said.

Kleisterlee has packed some of her most precious belongings and important papers, but she's concerned there will be looting if her neighbourhood is evacuated.

"I look around at everything I've gathered over the years. What do I take with me, what do I leave behind? It's frightening to think about," she said.

Brian Symonds, diking expert and director of regional operations with the provincial water stewardship division, said the high water is not a reason to panic, "but certainly cause to be aware."

A sustained period of high water can cause seepage and small boils in dikes, and crews will be monitoring all flood-protection structures and making repairs as necessary, he said.

Most Fraser Valley dikes are about 8.5 metres in height.

Les called the next week "critical," but said the province is prepared.

"We've known all along that prolonged warm weather or rain could lead to high water. This is starting to look an awful lot like 1972, and in 1972 none of the dikes were broken and none of the dikes were overtopped," he said.

River on the rise

The outlook for various centres on the Fraser River system:

- Prince George: Flood stage by tonight or tomorrow, peaking at over 10 metres by Thursday.

- Quesnel: Flood stage by Wednesday or Thursday.

- Terrace: Flood stage by next weekend.

- Fraser Valley: High water expected early this week, peaking between 7 and 7.4 metres by June 9 to 11.

Eye on the Fraser

6 m

Point at which the river has risen beyond its natural banks and is touching dikes in most Fraser Valley communities.

7 m

Point at which 24-hour dike patrols begin in most Fraser Valley communities.

7.5 m

High water recorded on June 10, 1948, at Mission. Extensive flooding across the Fraser Valley.

8 m

Point at which water is within 0.6 m of the crest of dikes in most Fraser Valley communities. Dike overtopping and failure is imminent.

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/st...855&k=49735

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

We take our alerts from the gauge at Mission, BC and at the townhall mtg a few wks ago they said that when it reaches 5.5 m, emergency teams get mobilized.

When it gets to 6 m, we have door-to-door evacuation alerts in the flood zones.

The RCMP and fire depts do this.

At the 6 m mark, parts in Langley start flooding.

Above 7 m, pressure starts building on the dykes.

At 7.3 m the dykes start over-topping.

For those interested, the Mission gauge was 4.74 late last night, then 4.97m this morning.

It is now on : 5.03 m.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Tips on Preparing your Home for a Potential Flood

While you may not be able to keep the flood waters away, there are a few practical steps that you can take today to prepare your home.

• Make a Flood Kit - ensure that you pull together adequate resources including a flashlight, candles and matches, blankets, waterproof clothing and footwear, a battery operated radio, extra batteries, key personal documents and contact lists, rubber gloves, first aid kit, bottled water and a few simple tools.

• Keep it upstairs - move buoyant materials (for example couches, tables) in basement rec rooms, to higher ground to reduce structural damage should these be caught in the flood. If possible, move electrical equipment out of harm’s way.

• Ensure that you know how to safely shut off your utilities - gas, electricity and water. Be sure to check with your local electricity and gas suppliers for further information. Unplug all electrical appliances.

• Remove hazardous materials and chemicals, such as pesticides and cleaning products from low-lying areas to minimize water contamination and pollution. Store them in a sealed storage container out of reach of children and flood waters.

• Secure propane tanks - anchor propane tanks which can cause damage and potential explosions. This can be done effectively using chains or cables.

• Store all outdoor furniture and equipment inside your home or in a shed or fasten them to secure structures to ensure minimal damage and loss. Remove all fuel from lawn mowers, trimmers, etc. and store it in a safe container to minimize water contamination.

• Assemble and store all cleaning tools such as shovels, mops, brushes, brooms, sponges etc. in one storage closet in your home to ensure easy access when you return to begin clean up.

The BC government is setting up a toll-free phone line to give people the

latest information on any flood threat in BC. The hotline will be operated in co-operation with the Red Cross and Telus. It will be open from noon until 8 p.m. daily, with the hours to be expanded if necessary, and will offer multi-lingual service. The line will provide details of any current flood situation, evacuations, road closures and safety precautions people can take.

The BC government is setting up a toll-free phone line to give people the

latest information on any flood threat in BC. The hotline will be operated in co-operation with the Red Cross and Telus. It will be open from noon until 8 p.m. daily, with the hours to be expanded if necessary, and will offer multi-lingual service. The line will provide details of any current flood situation, evacuations, road closures and safety precautions people can take.

The flood hotline number is

1-888-350-6070

Maple Ridge Flood Line: 604-467-7475

Be sure to visit your local government websites to get up to date information

on the flood threat in your community.

Abbotsford: www.abbotsford.ca

Burnaby: www.city.burnaby.bc.ca

Chilliwack: www.chilliwack.com

Coquitlam: www.coquitlam.ca

Delta: www.corp.delta.bc.ca

Harrison Hot Springs: www.harrisonhotsprings.ca

Hope: www.hope.ca

Langley City: www.city.langley.bc.ca

Langley Township: www.township.langley.bc.ca

Maple Ridge: www.mapleridge.ca/index.html

Mission: www.city.mission.bc.ca/site3.aspx

New Westminster: www.city.new-westminster.bc.ca

North Vancouver City: www.cnv.org

North Vancouver District: www.district.north-van.bc.ca

Pitt Meadows: www.pittmeadows.bc.ca

Port Coquitlam: www.portcoquitlam.ca

Port Moody: www.cityofportmoody.com/default.htm

Richmond: www.richmond.ca/home.htm

Squamish: www.district.squamish.bc.ca

Surrey: www.surrey.ca/default.htm

Vancouver: www.vancouver.ca

West Vancouver: www.westvancouver.net

Fraser Valley Regional District: www.fvrd.bc.ca/fvrd

Greater Vancouver Regional District: www.gvrd.bc.ca

http://www.jrfm.com/pages/4799/FLOOD_WATCH.htm

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

This might be interesting for some of you:

Stage at Mission - Response Action - Potential Impacts

1 to 5.99 meters Periodic patrols to ensure dykes are clear & accessible. Complete urgent mitigative works as required. Below Bank Full Conditions

6.0 meters FLOOD WATCH: Low level EOC established to monitor conditions. Regular dyke patrols and gauge level readings. The river has risen beyond its natural banks.

6.5 meters FLOOD ALERT: Daily dyke patrols are commenced, noting all changes and marking seepage points. Evacuation notification possible given conditions. The river has risen beyond its banks and is on the dyke structure.

7.0 meters 24 hour continuous dyke patrols commenced. River bank erosion and areas of seepage/boils monitored and repaired as necessary. Evacuation order considered for all low lying areas depending on river forecast. The level of the river is well up onto the dyke structure.

7.57 meters Flood fighting continues. If conditions persist, widespread evacuation considered. All non-standard dyking systems at risk of failure if water levels persist for several days.

8.0 meters Larger scale flood fighting on all dykes. Monitor and repair points of seepage. Final evacuation ordered. High water is within 0.6 meters (2 feet) of crest of dykes.

8.3 meters Flood fighting ceased emergency responders are pulled from the affected areas. Water is at the crest of the dyke; overtopping expected. There is a high probability of dyke failures throughout the Fraser Valley.

http://www.pittmeadows.bc.ca/EN/main/resid...8/683/9807.html

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Some of our members may need our prayers over the next few days....

If the waters continue to rise as it's been happening over the past two days or so, evacuations in Langley may start as early as tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday. We have a meeting this afternoon locally re. this (I will be helping with victim services)

I am thankful where we are in south Langley is not in the flood zone, but my heart goes out to many folks who are.

Take care and God bless.

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Cathy K

Our hearts go out to everyone in the areas threatened by floods. Thank you for keeping us up to date Ingrid.

I must say that I'm very impressed with the authorities and their level of assistence and involvement, but volunteers like yourself are the backbone in trying times like this. God really has His angels everywhere........

Cathy K.

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