Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Abbotsford, BC –

The Nooksack River in Washington state has crossed its dike and the city of Abbotsford expects flooding to cross the U.S. border, Mayor Henry Braun said Sunday afternoon.

From kl. At 4 p.m., along Boundary Road, water was already flowing out of the Whatcom County fields and into the Canadian side of the border. By 5:30 p.m., the Nooksack had entered a minor flood stage, according to the U.S. National Weather Service, but had not yet peaked.

Hundreds of farms and homes are within a few miles of the line, including the Dykman Cattle Company, where Cynthia Dykman told CTV News late Sunday that there were many frayed nerves.

Her husband, Ted, said he was once again preparing to move their 300 calves to higher ground.

The mayor said the city expects floods on Sunday to be less significant than the floods that flooded the Sumas prairie last week.

However, the city remains “extremely concerned” about the continuing risk of flooding as more rain falls on Sunday and more is forecast for the coming week, Braun said.

“The country is super-saturated,” he said. “None of that water (from Nooksack) goes down into the ground. It just comes across as a surfer on top of the water that is there. It comes here much faster than in the previous event.”

Dykman, who has experienced three Nooksack floods in 20 years, said it typically takes about four hours for floods to travel the 10 miles from Everton, Washington, to their farm.

She said she sees the storm running off at the foot of their driveway for a warning sign that the water is on its way up.

Meanwhile, Shawn Hystek, who also lives on the southwestern outskirts of Sumas Prairie, said he was encouraged to see the military driving dump trucks, adding gravel to raise dikes and stacking sandbags in low-lying areas along the roads.

And he added that no matter what happens overnight or how high the water goes, society will pull through together.

“After the first one we’ve just been through here, (we saw) how strong the community is, and the people who come together, and the people who help each other,” Hystek said.

Earlier in the day, heavy rain and snowmelt that crossed the border from the United States triggered new floods in Abbotsford and triggered a new evacuation order for the town’s Huntingdon Village area.

The floods could pose an “immediate threat to life safety,” warns the order, which affects the Huntingdon Village area, which borders Sumas Way to the west, A Street and 2nd Avenue to the east, Farmer Road to the north and the U.S. border. to the south.

“You must leave the area immediately,” the order reads. “Gather your family, and if you have space, take a neighbor or someone who needs transportation. Do not use more vehicles than you should.”

Evacuated people have been asked to register at the Emergency Support Services Reception Center set up at the Abbotsford Recreation Center on McMillan Road.

The city instructed residents to close their doors and windows, collect critical items such as medicine and keys, and shut off their gas and electrical appliances, except refrigerators and freezers.

Gates should be locked but left unlocked, officials said.

Authorities were already reporting flooding in Huntingdon Village in the middle of the morning. While the Nooksack River in Washington state had not yet flooded its banks at the time, the Abbotsford Police Department said flooding in the American community of Sumas “flows north.”

The severity of the floods from Nooksack is still unknown, Braun said Sunday, adding that he is convinced Abbotsford has done everything it could to prepare for the arrival of more floodwaters.

“We are as ready as we can be,” he said. “Now we have to wait and see what happens.”

When Nooksack is flooded, some of the floods are typically trapped by the watershed of the Sumas River, which flows north into the Fraser River through the Sumas Prairie, rather than directly to the sea via Nooksack’s own watershed.

Floods from Nooksack, along with the failure of a dike along the Sumas, were the primary cause of the flooding on the Sumas Prairie after the historic rainstorm that hit BC earlier this month.

Motorists have also been urged to exercise caution if leaving home.

“We have had significant rainfall with more rain forecast. Water is accumulating on several roads,” Abbotsford police said on Twitter Sunday morning. “Today would be a great day to stay home and catch up (TV series) Yellowstone or some laundry.”

About 180 soldiers spent Saturday erecting a sandbag wall about 500 feet long next to the railroad tracks in an attempt to divert the water away from Huntingdon Village.

Asked Sunday whether the city regretted not building a major barrier of sandbags in hopes of stopping Nooksack, Braun said that is not the purpose of the sandbag effort.

“If we were to try to stop Nooksack, I’m not even sure we could do that,” he said. “You’ll have to build a dike 18 feet high. That’s what it takes. And the only thing that would happen is that the water would flood another.”

Residents also prepared for floods and collected sandbags in hopes of protecting their own property and livestock.

Braun noted earlier that the atmospheric river that arrived on Saturday was expected to deliver up to 120 millimeters of rain to his community Sunday morning.

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