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B.C. FLOODING | Tracking the Fraser

B.C.'s Fraser River flooding rivals that of 2012, here's why


Tyler Hamilton
Meteorologist

Friday, May 18, 2018, 3:34 PM - A lot of the flooding focus has been in the Interior of British Columbia, but the mighty Fraser River is slowly creeping up towards flood stage. Just how bad will it get? And, historically speaking, is this likely to be a significant event?

FRASER RIVER FLOOD: FAST FACTS

  • Forecast Fraser River peak flow at Hope: 12,000 m³/s
  • Forecast Fraser River peak flow at Mission: 13,000 m³/s 
  • Cause: combination of record snowpack up at the headwaters of the Fraser River and the above normal temperatures past several weeks
  • Upper Fraser West snowpack was 260% of normal, as of May 1st


Snowmelt has been a significant contributor to the widespread flooding across the province. The visualization below will provide a better idea of the regions of B.C. that have experienced serious snowpack depletion this month:


But, there's a better way to visualize the flooding impacts along the Fraser River, and one of its main tributaries. Let's use a photo to demonstrate the range in flooding we've experienced in B.C. Is this flood season along the Fraser expected to be the worst in history? Not even close...

For reference, there's 2012 at the bottom of the pillar, but a lot of notable flood events were much more severe along the Thompson River.

In 1894, evidence suggests that flow rates reached an astounding 17,000 m³/s near Hope and this record has not been touched for well over a hundred years. With regards to the current water levels forecast, the team at Ebbwater created a beautiful, interactive map  that populates the Fraser River forecast for the next five days.

HOPE FLOW RATE FORECAST


Image courtesy B.C. River Forecast Centre


Interesting to note, that the flow rate in the Fraser River, at Hope, will have nearly tripled this month by May 20th. Current projections do suggest that the return period with the forecast flows is approximately a once in 10-20 year event. 

MUST SEE: WIDESPREAD DEVASTATION IN GRAND FORKS


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