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Dike repaired in Abbotsford after devastating flooding

The Fraser River has dropped low enough to allow the city's floodgates at the Barrowtown pump station to open, helping release some of the flood waters in Sumas Prairie
Crews work to fix the Sumas dike in Abbotsford on the weekend.

UPDATE: 2:57 p.m.

In a news conference Sunday, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says a number of repairs to the dike are close to completion.

Mayor Braun says the breach on the Sumas River dike has been repaired.

"The floodgates are now fully open at Barrowtown, which means that at this point, water is flowing from the Sumas River into the Fraser River. The dike repair work has now reached a point where the water from the Sumas River is no longer flowing into Sumas River Prairie lake bottom."

Mayor Braun says water levels dropped this morning on the eastern portion of the Sumas Prairie by three inches in the first six hours.

Despite the improvements, the city has extended the local state of emergency through November 29th.

"With all the good news, we are still a long way from being out of danger," Braun said.

"We are in the processing of gathering some more detailed weather projections from Environment Canada for the week to come so that we can be as ready as possible."

Environment Canada is warning that a second atmospheric river will bring large amounts of rain to the province.

"The next day or so is not a problem. The water is coming in 80-100 mm of water in the next four days. If water spreads out over the next four days and it doesn't come over the border, I am optimistic that the system is currently working the way it is supposed to. If 100 mm came in 24 hours, that is a problem, a big problem."

Mayor Braun says the Canadian Forces continue to help with flood mitigation.

"Locally, troops will be scheduled to start cleaning some of the culverts and debris over the next few days."

ORIGINAL: 11:25 a.m

Crews in Abbotsford have stopped the flow of water across the Sumas dike earlier than anticipated.

Last week's "atmospheric river" dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain on the Lower Mainland, causing widespread flooding in the Sumas Prairie region of Abbotsford.

The flooding caused the Sumas River to breach its dike in multiple places, and water poured through dozens of homes and across many acres of farmland.

On Friday, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said with help from Armed Forces soldiers, crews were working to fix the breaches in the dike before more rain is forecast to fall come Tuesday. The largest of the breaches was approximately 100 metres in length, near Marion and No. 4 roads.

During Saturday's update, Braun said the 100-metre breach was about 55 per cent fixed, and crews were on track to have it fixed by early next week.

But Sunday morning, the City of Chilliwack tweeted they'd received word at 4 a.m. that crews had finished repairs to the Sumas Dike breach.

"Although we've managed to stop the flow of water, the repairs on the Sumas Dike continue," the City of Abbotsford clarified in a reply. "When the repairs are fully complete, we will be provide an update."


Saturday, Braun also said the Fraser River had lowered enough to be able to partially reopen the floodgates between the Sumas and Fraser rivers, allowing water to be drained from the Sumas Prairie much quicker than with the Barrowtown pumphouse alone.

He hoped the Fraser's levels would continue to drop to allow the floodgates to be fully reopened.

Mayor Braun will be holding another update at 2 p.m. Sunday.