LANGLEY (NEWS1130) – Forecasters expect the Fraser River to peak a little earlier on the Lower Mainland than first thought as rain and warmer weather move in on BC.

The swollen river has already prompted evacuation alerts for 147 properties right along the Fraser in Langley and Abbotsford.

Dave Campbell with BC’s River Forecast Centre says they’re anticipating the Fraser River to peak at Hope late tomorrow night rather than mid-day Friday.

“We’ve got rapid rising going on now and it’s going to continue to go,” says Campbell. “The peaking itself, once we get into the higher flows, the flow rates of rise slows down and then you hit the peak and it’s held elevated for some time. So the rate of rise is going to remain rapid through tomorrow, and right now we’re anticipating seeing that peak late tomorrow.”

“As it comes downstream from Hope, we start to get into – as we go into Mission and areas downstream – into tidal influence, so the exact timing really depends on where we are on the river and where the tides are,” adds Campbell.

Environment Canada meteorologists expect warmer, wet weather to move in affect and most of the province over the next few days, bringing rain and causing more snowmelt.

“There is potential for anywhere from, let’s say, 30 to 60 millimetres of rain in a fairly broad swath right from the southeast corner of the province right up to…Terrace, Smithers, up to the Skeena [and] Nass River basins there,” says the agency’s Dave Jones.

Some campsites in Langley are under water as spring melt run-off pushes the level of the Fraser River up. Picnic tables and fire pits are submerged; the water has risen so high, it’s taken out a lot of them along the shoreline.

Gail has lived in Langley for nine years and has never seen it come up this high before. She explains it’s a bit unnerving for people living along the river.

“I’ve been wanting to find out how it compares to the 1948 flood. I think it’s getting pretty close. We’ve got the same kind of weather that my parents talked about: hot, rain, hot, rain,” she tells us.

Her concerns echo those of many of those who live along the Fraser River from Prince George through to New Westminster.

In Abbotsford, Mayor Bruce Banman says many of the people on evacuation alert are farmers, now facing a decision on when to move their livestock.

“When you’re milking three times a day, it actually is more traumatic for the animals to be moved ahead of time then last minute. Each farmer will make their own decision as to when to move their animals, if need be,” he says. 

Banman says both dairy, and hog farms could be affected if the water climbs higher than expected.

He adds it’s not the first time people outside the dikes have seen warnings like this.

“They have been through this drill before, at this point we’re just making sure that everyone is kept informed as to what’s expected,” he says.

Banman is also warning people not to walk or bike on any dikes along the Fraser in Abbotsford right now.