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Storm surge batters Delta farms

December 10, 2014

Following on the loss of Garry Point tree in November 1891, record high tides, heavy rain and winds caused wide-spread flooding in the lower mainland in December. 
At some hotels in downtown Vancouver water rose to a level of several feet as drains failed to cope.
The greatest effect was felt in Delta, where "phenomenal tides" driven by a "heavy gale" swept three miles inland, destroying property, wiping out feed stocks and killing hundreds of cattle.
Dykes,  fences and sheds were battered by driftwood carried on waves rolling in off Mud Bay.

Among those farmers suffering major losses were Oliver, Robertson, McKee and Tasker. Benson’s dyke stood firm.
To the losses of grain, hay and livestock must be added the deleterious effects of salt water on the soil.

After three days of inundation the flood waters receded, leaving behind on the Ladner Trunk Road "at  least 500 tons of derelict trees and timbers, some of the logs being fully three feet in diameter."

The Ladner Trunk Road was constructed by excavating ditches on either side and throwing the soil inward, building an elevated roadway.

Ladner Trunk road -  Delta BC

Mechanized dyke construction

Dredge No. 3 of the firm JW Pike shown cutting its own channel while building a dyke on Lulu Island.

JW Pike Dredge No 3 - Lulu Island


Current weather conditions in Greater Vancouver: “B.C. braces for flooding from storm surge, rising rivers.”
Historical data, excepting the event reported here,has been compiled by D. Septer in a paper available online: ”Flooding and Landslide Events Southern British Columbia 1808-2006.”

Until recent times, the Brownsville flats were also subject to overflow during any stage of high water, from spring freshet to winter storm surge.

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