In British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, the most serious floods that could affect multiple communities at once are:
- a large snowpack on mountains of the Fraser Basin
- a cool spring followed by high temperatures that accelerate snowmelt
- episodes of heavy rainfall.
Climate change is expected to increase the risk of high spring temperatures and the potential of faster snowmelt as well as rain during the spring freshet.
1894 – Largest Fraser River flood of written record
1948– Second largest Fraser River flood of written record. Caused loss of 2,300 homes and forced 16,000 people to evacuate. 10 residents drowned and 22,000 hectares of land were engulfed in water. As a result of the flood, Vancouver didn’t have a rail connection to the rest of Canada for three weeks.
1972– Third largest recorded Fraser River flow at Hope, raising concerns of a large flood.
Learn more about Fraser River Flood History.
The BC River Forecast Centre analyses snowpack, assesses seasonal water supply and flood risk, and monitors and forecasts flows in British Columbia’s rivers and streams through modelling. Based on available data and modelling, the Centre issues high streamflow advisories, flood watch advisories and flood warnings. Learn more on the River Forecast Centre website.
The BC Storm Surge Forecasting Program has also been developed to provide forecasts for coastal storm surge events along the south coast of BC. This has operated between October and March in recent years.