VANCOUVER – As a flood from the Nooksack River poured into Sumas Prairie for the second time in two weeks, some farmers remained extremely concerned Monday evening about how severe its impact will be.
While the waters appeared to be skirting the Huntingdon Village neighbourhood, where some 90 homes remain under evacuation order, they were still flowing into the fields to the northeast, including into Cynthia Dykman’s family farm.
“We won’t be sleeping tonight, that’s for sure,” Dykman told CTV News around 5:30 p.m.
She said the family was preparing to evacuate one low-lying barn, home to 300 calves, with the water level rising and their pumps getting clogged.
“You just throw your hands in the air and do the best you can,” she said, adding that they were ready to move the calves to higher ground just as they did two weeks ago.
Earlier, before the waters rose, chicken and blueberry farmer Ed Friesen came out to survey the few dry patches left in his fields.
“We’re good. We’re all alive. And we are surviving,” Friesen said.
“I think we’re as prepared as we can be,” he said, adding they’d moved all the chicks to the second floor, and that living through the first flood had made them a “little bit smarter.”
Meanwhile, Wayne Elias, the manager for a recycling plant along the border that had just re-opened for a couple days, before waters shut it again, watched warily.
He called the Nooksack flood a “slow motion train wreck.”
“You’re standing here, and watching the water come,” Elias said. “And there’s just nothing you can do.”
Others, like Shawn Hystek, who has lived all his life on the prairie, expressed optimism the waters didn’t appear to be as high or intense as first forecast.
“I put a marker at my father-in-law’s creek there to see how quick the water has come up,” he told CTV Monday afternoon.
“It’s not rising too fast, (so I’m) feeling a lot more comfortable this time.”
Still, there is widespread concern, Hystek said, about the third of three atmospheric rivers set to impact the Fraser Valley starting late Tuesday, especially with many homes and farms on the eastern end of Sumas Prairie still entirely inaccessible.
“Let’s see how the rest of the week goes with the rain,” he said.