Pineapple Express causes flooding in Maple Ridge
A "perfect storm" has led to the worst flooding that 224th Street has seen in about six years, as the North Alouette River overflowed its banks and closed the rural road.
Friday morning, area resident Don McLachlan was inspecting the bridge at 224th Street and 132nd Avenue, where a Road Closed sign has been put up. He watched as a large log loudly bumped into the structure and eventually bobbed out the other side. He was concerned that debris could build up at the bridge, dam the Alouette, and worsen the situation.
"We haven't seen it this high in six years," McLachlan said.
That winter, the shop at his place near Edge Street and 132nd was flooded. He said residents of the area worry about flooding damage, and the negative effect it has on their property values.
Several properties north of between 132nd had flooding in their yards, however District of Maple Ridge director of public works Russ Carmichael said he was not aware of flooded houses.
He explained that warm Pineapple Express temperatures in the Interior of the province have caused early melting, and the late-week deluge of rain aggravated the situation.
The barricades on 224th are not manned, and some trucks were moving slowly through the deep water covering the road.
"We really, really discourage people from joyriding there," said Carmichael, noting that in the past people with lifted trucks have bombed through the flooded area.
The problem with this, is the "wash" it creates, like a boat on a lake, can exacerbate erosion problems on flooded properties.
Also, with the road and ditches both under water, drivers have in the past found their vehicle off the pavement, and submerged in a deep ditch – a situation that is neither good for their truck, nor safe for their person.
He said past flooding studies have recommended the best way to keep the Alouette in its banks is to dredge gravel buildup near the corner of 224th and 132.
He said the city will have a bridge engineer do structural inspections as a precaution.
The water was expected to recede somewhat overnight on Friday, but there was more rain in the forecast for Saturday
Sunday and Monday appear to offer a reprieve, with only a 20 per cent probability of precipitation both days.