NEWS

Upper Fraser River communities brace for floods

05/14/2013 02:26 EDT | Updated 07/14/2013 05:12 EDT
Officials in Prince George are keeping a close eye on the Upper Fraser River after the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued flood warnings as water levels continue to rise Tuesday.

The river waters are flowing at a 10-year high, the centre says.

Once rivers peak today and overnight, conditions are expected to stabilize with river levels dropping tomorrow and through the rest of the week. Cooler temperatures are expected to slow the rapid snow melt.

On Tuesday, the centre put out the following flood warnings:

- The Fraser River at Hansard is expected to peak Tuesday afternoon.

- The Fraser River at Shelley is expected to rise through Tuesday afternoon, and then have a long peak through Tuesday evening.

- The Fraser River at South Fort George is expected to rise through Tuesday afternoon.

- McGregor River at Lower Canyon is slowly dropping and is expected to continue dropping today, after peaking at midnight on Monday.

Prince George's Paddlewheel Park and Cottonwood Island Park have already been closed to the public because of flooding.

Other communities along swelling tributaries are also preparing for rising water levels.

Near Pemberton, officials have built an emergency dike on the Birkenhead River. Further downstream, the Lil'wat Nation is sand-bagging around a slough where dozens of people live.

David Blane, an engineer with the city of Chilliwack, says people to be careful of fast-moving waters along the lower Fraser.

"Definitely people should stay away from the Fraser River. It's quite dangerous this time of year," he said.

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