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BC flooding: All of Merritt, part of Abbotsford evacuated

Vancouver –

The violent storm that hit British Columbia forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes on Monday, including the entire community of Merritt.

Videos and photos taken by residents of Merritt on Monday morning captured flooded streets, including one striking photo of a car drifting down Coldstream Avenue.

Several homes in the community of Nicola Valley, located east of Lytton, were evacuated overnight as relentless rain pelted down much of the province, causing flooding, landslides, rock slides and highway closures across much of the province. wide area between the Lower Mainland and Southern Internal Affairs.

Merritt officials announced an expanded citywide evacuation order shortly after 10 a.m., urging about 7,100 residents of the community to seek refuge with family or friends elsewhere in the province if possible.

“Merritt is and will remain strong,” Mayor Linda Brown said in a statement. “Please, help your friends, family and neighbors, drive safely and take care of yourselves. We’ll see each other again, in our home where we belong.”

Those with nowhere to go are advised to go to emergency services centers in Kamloops or Kelowna, depending on if they have any assistance in either city. Merritt residents with no connection to either are asked to go to Kamloops if their home address is even and Kelowna if their address is odd.

The situation in Merritt deteriorated significantly after the weekend’s heavy rain. At around 7:30 a.m. Monday, officials issued another evacuation order covering the neighborhood of Collettville, warning that residents may have to be rescued by helicopter if they don’t flee quickly.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant has also been flooded with floodwaters, rendering it inoperable “for an indefinite period,” according to officials.

The city said in its evacuation notice: “The continued existence of communities without sanitation services presents the risk of massive wastewater backlogs and personal health risks.

Two of the three bridges over the Coldwater River were also down Monday morning, and flooding prevented access to the third.

A car is seen drifting down a flooded street in Merritt, BC, in a photo submitted by a reader. (Mary Keller)

‘IMMEDIATELY DANGER TO SAFE LIFE’

Several other areas have been placed under evacuation orders and warnings due to the devastating storm, which Environment Canada forecasts will continue through Monday.

Dozens of homes in the Okanagan-Similkameen Area were evacuated Sunday night after flooding on the Tulameen River posed “an immediate danger to life safety.”

“Search and rescue under the direction of the RCMP will be notified and enforced quickly,” the district said in an emergency update.

Landslides and flooding also cut off access to nearly two dozen roads in the City of Abbotsford, prompting officials to declare a local state of emergency and evacuate some unconfirmed properties in areas of the city. strait area and the Sumas grasslands.

Abbotsford has placed several other areas, including parts of Matsqui Village, on evacuation alert, urging residents to be ready to flee shortly.

That means planning for the relocation of people with disabilities, children and neighbors who may need assistance, and packing essentials like medication, government identification, and important documents. important.

On Vancouver Island, several areas of the Nanaimo Area were also evacuated, including parts of Qualicum Beach and Parksville.

“Flooding is occurring on both the Englishman and Nanaimo rivers, and water levels are expected to continue to rise,” regional officials warned in a news release. “Stay away from riverbanks and streams as the fast-moving water conditions are very dangerous.”

Thompson-Nicola precinct issued an evacuation order for constituency “N” and placed constituencies “I,” “M” and “N” in evacuation warnings.

The most up-to-date information on evacuation orders and warnings is available on the regional city and county websites, and through BC Emergency Information.

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