2021 Fraser River Freshet Information

For Provincial water level forecasts, visit the BC River Forecast Centre.

July 2, 2021 Update:

The Fraser River had reached a peak water level of 5.5m at the Mission Gauge on June 8 followed by a steady decline to a level of ~4.0m by June 17. The extreme temperatures in the later part of June has resulted in another spike in Fraser River levels. Levels today at the Mission Gauge are at 5.3m and the BC River Forecast Centre is predicting that they could increase to above 5.5m over the next few days.
The provincial forecast for the Fraser River at Mission can be viewed at:
http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/freshet/clever/08MH024.PDF

The City of Chilliwack will continue to monitor levels in collaboration with the BC River Forecast Centre and will advise accordingly if conditions change

June 3, 2021 Update: The recent hot weather has resulted in significant snowmelt and increased water levels in many BC rivers.  The River Forecast Centre has predicted water levels will be in the 9,000 to 11,000 m3/s range for the Fraser River at Hope in the coming week. The provincial forecast can be viewed at http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/freshet/clever/08MF005.PDF.

Our records show that the river water level at Carey Point has reached top of bank at approximately 9,000 m3/s in the past. Therefore, properties outside the dike in the Carey Point area are at potential risk of flooding. By comparison, the peak flow at Hope reached 11,700 m3/s in 2012 and just over 10,000 m3/s in 2020. Water levels in the coming weeks will depend on the weather and the Province will continue to provide updated 10-day forecasts.

Residents in the Carey Point area (not protected by the dike) are being notified and advised of this increased flood risk. Areas protected by the dike system are not at risk of flooding at this time.  The City of Chilliwack will continue to monitor levels in collaboration with the BC River Forecast Centre and will advise accordingly if conditions change.

May 11, 2021 Update: The overall snow basin index for the entire Fraser River basin (e.g. upstream of the Lower Mainland) decreased to 109% from the April 1st index of 116%.  As of May 1, 2021, the provincial River Forecast Centre has indicated the peak flow at Hope will likely be in the range of 7,500 to 10,500 m3/s. (9,000m3/s forecasted). This is a slight reduction from the April 1 forecast however weather is still a key factor for determining peak flows. 

April 1, 2021 Update: The overall snow basin index for the entire Fraser River basin (e.g. upstream of the Lower

Mainland) increased slightly to 116% from the March 1st index of 115%. By early April,
approximately 95% of the annual B.C. snowpack has typically accumulated. 

As of April 1, 2021, the provincial River Forecast Centre has indicated the peak flow at Hope will likely be in the range of 8,000 to 11,500 m3/s. (9,500m3/s forecasted). As a comparison, the peak flow in 2012 was 11,700 m3/s, which equated to a peak water level at Mission Gauge of 6.4m (approximately a 1:20 year event). In 2012, some areas in the unprotected floodplain outside the dike system experienced flooding, but the water levels were well within the range that Chilliwack's dike system is designed to withstand.

The river levels in 2012 also caused the local groundwater table to rise, which resulted in some water getting into basements in parts of Fairfield Island. Residents in that area should review steps they can take to minimize possible damage in the event the water table rises to a similar level this year, such as having a sump pump and moving items off the basement floor.

Higher flows than 2012 are not predicted, however could occur this year depending on weather patterns in the coming weeks.  The peak typically occurs between May and July, and the City will be closely monitoring conditions and forecasts.

Each year, regardless of snowpack conditions, the City undertakes spring flood preparedness measures including checking all flood protection infrastructure and reviewing and updating our Fraser River Flood Response Plan.

Information was provided in the presentation to Council on April 20, 2021.

Please also refer to these pages for more information:

Fraser River Flood Protection

Freshet FAQ's

For more information, please call our freshet information line at 604.793.2757.

 

Attachments
Description Date File Size 
Fraser River Freshet Slides for Council - April 21, 2020 2020-04-21 843KB