Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Fraser Floods Early This Year!

Every year the Fraser River swells in size during the spring/summer months as the snow pack in the mountains begins to melt. They call that the freshet and some years it can be much worse than others. Last year was one of the worst in 40 years. There was extensive flooding in the upper Fraser Valley and the property we live at had the driveway under water for a few weeks. That happened around the end of June, so we weren't expecting anything to happen for another 6-8 weeks. However, two weeks ago we got a freak hot spell with temperatures soaring to around 29 Celsius in the interior and which lasted for almost two weeks. Then when the rain finally came back, it did so with a vengeance and we got slammed with torrential downpours that went on for a few days. This combination of extreme heat and heavy rain caused the river to rise about 30 feet or more in a period of a few days. So far there doesn't seem to be much danger to the house itself but we are keeping a close eye on things as it inches closer to the driveway and threatens our ramp access to the docks.

Here are some before and afters to illustrate the rise in water

Notice the height of the steel pilings on the right in relation to our roof line

Another before shot showing the height of those pilings and the beach on the right. Check out the pilings on the right with the silver caps on them, later you will see a picture where only the silver tops are still out of the water!
 A before shot of our ramp which as you can see is very high above the water.

The first sign that something wasn't right was when we noticed a ton of what looked like large lumps of soap scum floating downstream

Here is a closeup of said scum, each of those blobs is about 2 feet long, one foot wide... yuck!!! You can also see how brown the water looks now, you can literally see the sediment swirling in the water when you look at it closely.

This is another before shot showing the height of the pilings in comparison to the roof lines of our house and the neighbours boat shed

Now the water is starting to noticeably rise, look where the pilings are now!

The water is now only a few feet from our storage container( and my new garden beds which I spent hundreds of dollars on, so am praying they don't get washed away!)
 The river rose another 10 feet overnight, now look where the pilings are!

Here is a before of the ramp and the height of it compared to the water level

Here is the after shot, the ramp which usually has a very steep drop to the docks is now almost totally level and the river is only a few feet from the deck of it.

Another shot of the water creeping up towards our driveway

The river has risen a few more feet again, note how small the pilings are now. If you look carefully, you will see the smaller pilings that are capped with silver metal just barely sticking out of the water in front of the dock

This is a before shot of those same pilings in the background ( and the beach which is no longer there) The big old dock sitting up on the land is now totally floating!

Here is Dave standing next to one of the 40 foot pilings. He is 5'10" so it gives you some idea how much is under water now.

 So that is the excitement for now, waiting and watching the river to see if it will cut us off from land. The last few days the temperatures have cooled down and the river has stopped rising for now but it is holding its height that you see here. I am saying a prayer every day that it doesn't get any higher than this. So far the only real affect it has had on us ( other than some sleepless nights), is the fact that our water supply has been cut off. We depend on the drop in height from the well to our house to create water flow. Now that we are the same height as the driveway we have lost our gravity feed for the water line. Until the river drops again we have no running water to our house. I am seriously hoping the river doesn't stay this high for a few months! I am guessing that when I was born, I must have asked for an interesting life because there is definitely never a dull moment around here.

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  1. Where you are do you also get tidal influences on top of the runoff? Our lake is coming up, but I think they are running water out of the dam at a high rate. So far the level is pretty moderate. One year our bridge to shore actually went uphill slightly to get to the cabin. But we don't have a current to contend with, so no damage was done except a good soaking. Got my fingers crossed for your shed and driveway. - Margy

  2. Hi Margy, we do get a bit of a tide but the river is so wide here we don't really notice it so much but when it's flooding every foot counts so happy to see a drop at low tide even if its only a few feet! The water went down about 6 feet or so since these pictures were taken but still running pretty high. Now we are bracing ourselves for the next heat wave coming this week.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Rhianna

The Eclectic Ark