BC flooding: Possible pump station failure, emergency warning in Abbotsford

Vancouver –

Abbotsford officials are sharing updates Wednesday morning on the flood situation in Abbotsford. Follow Wednesday’s growing coverage here.

Officials in Abbotsford, BC, have issued an emergency warning to residents under evacuation orders in the Sumas Delta that “catastrophic” flooding is expected in the area.

The city sounded the alarm Tuesday night that the Barrowtown Pumping Station was in danger of being overwhelmed, which would send more water into the already flooded Sumas Prairie Plain.

“You need to leave immediately,” Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told residents during an emergency 9 p.m. news conference. “If you are unable to leave, please call 911 for assistance.”

Water is also flowing down from Mount Sumas, exacerbating an already difficult situation, according to officials.

First responders believe about 300 people remain in the evacuation zone, spread across several hundred different properties.

That includes an unconfirmed number of water rescue claims due to previous flooding from the fierce storm that hit the province Sunday and Monday.

The city described the Barrowtown Pumping Station as a “critical piece of infrastructure” preventing Lake Sumas from renovating, and said failure of even one of its four pumps would result in rapidly rising water levels in the Plains. by the Sumas River, which is being evacuated. order since Tuesday morning.

At full capacity, the station pumps out about eight cubic meters of water per second, but even while moving that volume, it is at risk of flooding due to rising floodwaters.

Braun said Abbotsford’s engineering team is working hard to keep the pumping station running, but there’s no word yet on how long they can keep it up.

“If there is a flood of water at the pumping station – the water level is now about a meter lower – this situation will get serious very quickly,” the mayor said. “Even with the four pumps working to fill the borehole, the water continued to rise.”

Residents have been told to give up all efforts to save livestock and get out when they can. The mayor said evacuees would be “extremely surprised” at how quickly the situation would deteriorate following the pumping station incident.

“There’s nowhere to let that water go,” Braun said. “I know it’s hard for farmers to give up raising livestock, but people’s lives are more important to me right now than livestock and chickens.”

The fire service said it was also working with staff from neighboring Chilliwack to build a wall of sandbags around the pumping station to extend time in the event of a pump failure. They are also trying to put in more pumps, as well as more helicopters to help get people to safety.

Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr said a coordinated rescue effort was underway, but the situation was “literally changing”.

“We’ve reached out to federal and provincial resources to assist us. We have search and rescue resources coming in from all over the Lower Mainland to help,” Serr said. “We reach everyone as quickly as we can to support them and support their families.”

Abbotsford remains under a local state of emergency enacted on Monday, and BC’s Department of Transport has advised the public to avoid traveling to the city and surrounding areas due to the extensive flooding. for routes.

Before Tuesday night, residents had been working together to help the stranded families evacuate. Authorities said some people used electric boats to pull cows onto the dry land.

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