BC flooding: Highways and schools remain closed, evacuation orders extended

Vancouver –

While heavy rainfall has eased in much of southern BC, the province is grappling with the severe effects of flooding and winds that have led to evacuation orders, highway closures, road closures and power outages. .

Two days of incessant rain caused rivers of mud and rocks to pour onto highways, forcing all highways in and out of the Lower Mainland to face some form of closure.

At least one person died as a result of these landslides. The RCMP confirmed the following afternoon, a woman’s body was recovered near Pemberton.

The evacuation order displaced more than 7,000 people after the entire city of Merritt was displaced.

Other areas of BC, including Constituency I, in the Blue Sky Country, and specific neighborhoods in Chilliwack are also being ordered to evacuate.

A broken levee also left much of the town of Princeton under water, and some areas in Abbotsford, where a local emergency was declared, were also declared under evacuation orders.

And there are calls for a provincial state of emergency due to inclement weather.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Leadership Council of First Nations said many BC countries were under evacuation or warning orders, and that issuing such an order would provide more resources for those affected. affect.


Throughout Tuesday, some highways closed on Sundays or Mondays remained congested.

The main roads linking the Lower Mainland to the Inland have been blocked, including sections of National Highway 5, National Highway 3 and parts of National Highway 1.

In some landslide areas, teams are still searching for people who may have been trapped in debris. On Monday, 275 people were rescued by helicopter from a slide on Highway 7.

Provincial officials said all those trapped in that area were rescued yesterday afternoon. Further north, a search and rescue team returned to a section of Highway 99, where several vehicles are believed to have been swept away.

A complete list of closed highways can be viewed here.


Tuesday saw a second day of school closures for some school districts and new closures for others. In the Lower Mainland, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission all canceled classes for the day because of safety concerns due to flooding.

A car is submerged in flood water along a road in Abbotsford, BC, Monday, November 15, 2021. CANADIAN PRESSURE / Jonathan Hayward


Evacuation orders are in place for several communities across southern BC

The entire city of Merritt was forced to leave on Monday. Although the order started with just a few neighborhoods, it was eventually expanded to the entire city and some 7,100 residents of the community were urged to take refuge with family or friends elsewhere. in the province.

In an update Tuesday, Greg Lowis, emergency public information officer for Merritt, told CTV News that one of the three bridges leading into the city had collapsed into the river.

“We are not confident about the structural integrity of any bridge in the city,” says Lowis. “We are contacting structural bridge engineers and arranging for them to inspect and find out how safe they are.”

Lowis said it would not be possible to conduct inspections until the water level recedes.

Additionally, 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.” Some residents living in constituencies B, H and G were ordered to leave on Monday, with many other areas placed on evacuation alert. A complete list of orders can be viewed on the RDOS website.

Constituency I in Blue Sky Country is under an evacuation order.

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.

Sumas Prairie’s evacuation order area was expanded on Tuesday morning because of a local landslide. The full list of properties required to leave can be seen on the city’s website.

Bound by floods in Sumas Prairie, the community of Yarrow was also ordered to evacuate.


Meanwhile, thousands of people in British Columbia were without power on Monday and Tuesday due to heavy rain and strong winds. In some places, like Hope, entire communities faced power outages.

BC Hydro’s Kevin Aquino told CTV News Vancouver in an emailed statement: “As our teams deal with the aftermath of the ‘atmospheric river’ affecting southern BC, the infrastructure of We in Hope were significantly damaged by landslides, which cut power to the community.” .

Power was restored to about 56,000 customers overnight Monday and another 20,000 on Tuesday.

About 6,000 people remained in the dark due to the storm late afternoon.

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