While this year’s snow melt and subsequent runoff has caused extensive flooding in northern B.C. communities such as Prince George, the warning bells are not yet being sounded along the Fraser River.
At the end of last week, heavy rains in the Interior had swollen the Upper Fraser and prompted some evacuations.
But water levels near Maple Ridge are still relatively low, reaching just above four metres at the Mission gauge.
Commercial fisherman Alex Davidson isn’t to worried about flooding near his hometown of Maple Ridge this year.
“It started really early and it had a lot of runoff early,” said Davidson, who been fishing for decades and seen much worse.
He started fishing at age six, with his older brother Bob and their father, He still fishes – primarily for tuna – with his brother, and said they’re preparing to head to the Queen Charlotte Islands next week to fish for salmon.
“It looks like it’s coming good,” he said of the river Sunday, glancing out over the Fraser from atop the Kanaka wharf.
But admittedly, Davidson said, he won’t be letting his dog in the river anytime soon. He just about lost his canine companion a few days earlier in the fast-moving currents just two blocks east at the Albion wharf.
If the level passes five metres, emergency coordinators and others will start issuing notifications to residents along the river.
Water levels have hit as high as six metres in 2007, and again two years ago, without causing significant impacts. Water that high will flood some low-lying fields.
If that happens, emergency personnel will be monitoring the dikes 24 hours a day, watching for water seeping through or potential breaks.
Right now, no one knows what will happen, and whether water levels will hit dangerous highs, or simply peter out as in recent years.
It all depends on how much rain and heat hit the B.C. Interior in the next few weeks, and how fast the snow on the mountains melts.