MARKHAM, ONT. — Heavy rain has caused flooding, mudslides and evacuations across southern British Columbia.
The province has been dealing with a “significant atmospheric river,” as Environment and Climate Change Canada puts it, for the past three days, resulting in copious amounts of rain. As of 11 a.m. PST Monday, 229 millimetres fell in the Coquihalla Summit region since Saturday, the most currently reported by the federal agency.
The situation in B.C. is evolving to say the least. Below you will find the latest developments on this intense storm.
Residents in Merritt, B.C. have been evacuated as floodwaters overwhelm the city. It’s estimated that 7,100 residents have been forced to find refuge elsewhere in the province. People with nowhere else to go are advised to head to emergency services centres in Kamloops and Kelowna.
Smaller evacuations have also been ordered in Abbotsford and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
Floodwaters and mudslides have shutdown several major highways in the province, leaving dozens of people stranded. The province said Monday morning that 80 to 100 vehicles along a stretch of Highway 7 near Agassiz were trapped because of mudslides.
Rescue crews, including those with the Canadian Armed Forces have been assisting these people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday afternoon that the federal government is ready to provide help for those affected by the devastating flooding in British Columbia.
An Environment Canada meteorologist believes a mix of record rainfall, melting snow and boosted freezing levels has led to the catastrophic flooding.
“November is the wettest time of year here in the south coast, but this atmospheric river that’s come up has brought up moisture all the way from Hawaii,” Bobby Sekhon, meteorologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News Channel from Surrey, B.C.
Sekhon added that the rainfall — more than double with single-day record in some areas — boosted the freezing levels in B.C.’s lower mainland.
“That’s really created a bad combination of some snow melt, plus some heavy rainfall to cause some of these impacts,” he said.
BC Hydro is reporting power outages for thousands of people in the province.
At the height of the outage, an estimated 60,000 customers were in the dark. The majority of the outages were in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast area.
Video posted on social media appears to show an unmoored barge heading towards Vancouver’s shoreline.
The Port of Vancouver told CTV News Vancouver the Canadian Coast Guard is leading the response to the incident.
Photos and videos from across the province show the scale of the storm’s aftermath and the repercussions.
A front door camera captured the rising floodwaters in Merritt.
A Canadian National Railway train derailed outside the unincorporated town of Yale, B.C.
In a statement, CN Rail said the one of the area’s numerous mudslides washed out the railway and led to the derailment. No one was injured in the incident.
The Trans Mountain pipeline has been shut down as a precautionary measure due to the flooding in Hope, B.C.
Construction of the pipeline expansion has also halted due to the flooding.
Schools in Abbotsford, B.C., will be closed Tuesday as the area deals with flooding following an intense fall storm.
The City of Abbotsford declared a state of local emergency Monday due to flooding, which led to evacuations in two parts of the city and a major highway closure expected to continue through the night.
With files from CTVNews.ca Writer Ben Cousins and CTV News Vancouver
View original article here Source