The City of New Westminster is playing a waiting game to see how high the Fraser River will reach in the coming days.
While evacuations have taken place elsewhere in British Columbia, local residents have only been advised to be cautious near the Fraser River.
"Given the high elevated water levels, the City of New Westminster is urging residents to remain aware and use caution when around the Fraser River shoreline, in particular Quayside, Port Royal, Braid industrial area, Sapperton Landing and other exposed and low-lying areas adjacent to the Fraser or Brunette rivers," said a bulletin released by the city. "Also, residents and visitors should remain aware when utilizing below ground parking areas adjacent to the Fraser River, as they may experience minor flooding or seepage during high water levels."
Meanwhile, some parking lots at the Quay are noticing some water.
"There's one at the Quay hotel that has a bit of water in the parking," said Jim Lowrie, the city's director of engineering. "That is water that is working its way up through storm water outfalls."
In addition to starting daily dike patrols on June 22, the City of New Westminster also posted signs advising people to be careful around the river.
"We put some precautionary signage up along the boardwalk, Sapperton Landing Park and Port Royal for people who frequently the water's edge," Lowrie said. "It's precautionary signs because of the swift current and debris in the river. There are branches and trees and tree trunks."
The City of New Westminster has placed sandbags, aqua dams and other flood-prevention apparatus at selected sites on the waterfront and is ready to place them in the needed areas if necessary.
"We have staff on daily dike inspections," Lowrie said. "They are inspecting the dikes, looking for areas of seepage, excessive saturation."
On Wednesday, June 27, the Fraser River at Mission had reached 6.15 metres and had begun to rise. The rising waters are due to heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt that occurred last weekend, particularly in the Thompson River basin (a major tributary to the Lower Fraser River) and to a lesser extent in the Upper Fraser River basin.
Lowrie told The Record that it generally takes six days for water from rain and snowmelt in these headwaters to travel down to the Lower Fraser Valley.
According to a June 27 news release from the city, another pulse of water is expected to travel downstream through this week, as a result of heavier rain across the Fraser River tributaries. River levels are expected to reach their peak levels at Hope by Saturday, and between Friday and Sunday at Mission and downstream.
Current forecasts are estimating a height of approximately 6.3 to 6.4 metres at the Mission gauge. This is slightly below levels that were observed last weekend," said the news release. "Once the pulse of water has passed, levels are expected to recede towards the end of the weekend, and into next week. Unless additional severe weather - extreme heat or heavy rainfall in the Upper Fraser basin - occurs, river levels are expected to drop through the remainder of the freshet season."