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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Rain sets off flooding, mudslides in British Columbia

Flood warnings and watches were issued for areas from Merritt south to the United States border, the lower Fraser region and sections of southern Vancouver Island.

By: AP | Vancouver |
November 16, 2021 9:19:00 am
The city said in a statement that the slides cut off several routes, and those who needed shelter or assistance could go to the Abbotsford Recreational Centre. (Photo: AP/File)

A local state of emergency has been declared in part of the Pacific coast Canadian province of British Columbia where unrelenting rainfall caused flooding, mud and rock slides and the closure of highways to and from the southern Interior.

Environment Canada said 225 millimeters of rain had deluged the community of Hope since the storm began Saturday and 180 millimeters had fallen around Agassiz and Chilliwack.

The District of Kent, which includes Agassiz, issued a local state of emergency after landslides severed Highway 7. Maintenance crews said they were forced to wait until first light to confirm reports of trapped vehicles.

Flood warnings and watches were issued for areas from Merritt south to the United States border, the lower Fraser region and sections of southern Vancouver Island.

Rising rivers or landslides also prompted evacuation orders in Merritt, Agassiz, Abbotsford and in Princeton, where a dike burst Monday morning, forcing residents of about 200 properties from their homes. In Merritt, rising river waters overwhelmed the city’s water system and residents were ordered to “immediately cease” all water use.

“Anything that goes down a drain must stop now,” the city said in an urgent message posted on social media.

The weather office said a further 50 millimeters of rain could drench the eastern Fraser Valley. Rain, snow and wind warnings covered most of the southern third of the province.

The city of Abbotsford opened a reception center Sunday for residents who couldn’t get home or who were forced out because of mudslides or flooding at several locations.

The city said in a statement that the slides cut off several routes, and those who needed shelter or assistance could go to the Abbotsford Recreational Centre.

Environment Canada said rain along the coast and snow in the eastern part of the province wasn’t expected to let up until sometime Monday. About 50 centimeters blanketed Highway 1 through the Rogers Pass and another 25 centimeters was expected.

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