On Monday, we hear the news that our daughter Sarah, who lives in Abbotsford is on evacuation alert. Normally that would mean stay clear, but Sarah's partner was away this week and my wife was beginning to freak out. Figuring that if Sarah had to evacuate, 3 sets of hands is better than 1, if it came to clearing out. So on Tuesday we set headed east.
Google Maps directed us along 0 Ave and through the back roads, which were very quiet and passable. We arrived at Sarah's home, which is in an area Abbotsford previously called 'Clearbrook Village'. Her home is considerably higher up than Sumas Prairie, which was completely flooded, but her back yard still had the appearance of a small lake.
All was quiet on her front and she wasn't in any immediate danger, so we scouted around the area and assessed what her town had become.
If we didn't have Sarah as guide, we wouldn't have recognized highway 1 which was totally submerged. It appeared that we were looking at a lake that had been there prior, if not for the overpasses peeping above, and the odd traffic sign. It was surreal to say the least.
The rain had finally subsided, but the Nooksack River had overflowed just south of the border, causing more strain on Abbotsford's pumping stations.
As darkness approached on Tuesday, the mayor warned of even more catastrophic flooding if the Barrowtown Pump Station failed, in Sumas Prairie. If this happened, it was unclear just how high the water would rise.
It wasn't until late Wednesday afternoon that we were told the Fraser River had receded by about 2 meters and the Barrowtown Pump was doing an amazing job to that point.
While being hunkered down for 2 solid days, Sarah and I did out best to work from her home, and my wife with a little of our helped, baked well over 100 of her Christmas shortbread cookies. With all the devastation, we tried to make the most of a family visit.
Gigi and I are back home now. Sarah is safe and the evacuation alert has been lifted. It was a few days we will never forget. Our hearts go out to all those that have lost their homes, barns and livestock. This is a harsh wake up call to events we have seen on the news over the past few months and years, but never so close to home. It was heart warming to see a community work together and support one another during this difficult time.We wish you a speedy recovery.