Abbotsford, BC, Residents Urged to Flee Low Lying Area as Flood Risk Escalates

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 17, 2021

VANCOUVER—Officials in Abbotsford, B.C., say residents of the low-lying Sumas Prairie area south of the city face a significant risk to life and must get out immediately.

An evacuation order was issued for about 1,000 properties Tuesday as flooding linked to a severe weekend rainstorm pushed up water levels in the area which is home to many large dairy farms and other agricultural and livestock operations.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says conditions are dire, with a key pumping station keeping water from the nearby Fraser River from engulfing most of the Sumas Prairie flats in danger of being overwhelmed.

Crews spent the night sandbagging the Barrowtown Pump Station and the city’s fire chief told a news conference late Tuesday that additional rescue and swift water rescue equipment was being added, in anticipation of the need for immediate, life saving assistance if the pumps go down.

Braun warned the roughly 300 residents who were refusing to leave on Tuesday that they will be “incredibly surprised” how quickly a flood surge will hit if the Barrowtown station shuts down.

B.C.’s cabinet ministers are expected to consider whether to declare a provincewide state of emergency in response to floods, washouts and landslides that cut all routes from the Lower Mainland to the Interior following record−breaking rainfall across southern B.C. between Saturday and Monday.