Weekend floods feared along swollen rivers

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

The water of the Fraser River is seen rising onto the shore of Derby Reach Park in North Langley, B.C. Wednesday, June 20, 2012. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Forecasters predict that a combination of warm and wet weather may spark another round of high water levels this weekend, leaving people along the Fraser River and elsewhere in B.C. bracing for more flooding.

“All that we can do is prepare for the worst,” said Barry Gagnon, a spokesman for the city of Enderby.

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In response to rapidly rising waters in the nearby Shuswap River, Enderby officials closed some roads to prevent cars from creating additional waves, Mr. Gagnon said. Depending on the weather during the next few days, the situation could get worse, he added.

“The wet weather is really dominating the response in the river right now,” said David Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre. He predicted a continued rise for another 10 days, thanks to the weekend’s warm and rainy forecast.

Mr. Campbell anticipated another surge in water levels at Shuswap Lake, the South Thompson River and the Fraser River at Prince George.

Meanwhile, Enderby’s 28-member volunteer fire department is on standby.

“We’re there to help,” Chief Kevin Alstad said. “If we need to, we will sandbag.” There are some sandbags ready and the city works yard is filled with burlap sacks and sand.

If water levels reach unmanageable heights for local authorities, Emergency Social Services will provide assistance, specialist Dave Scott said. Despite the flood warnings, no mobile support teams have yet been dispatched.

Forecasters expect the higher water levels will reach the lower Fraser River toward the end of the week.