MARKHAM, ONT. Heavy rains have caused flooding, landslides and evacuations across southern British Columbia.
The province has been dealing with a “river of significant atmosphere”, as Environment and Climate Change Canada puts it, over the past three days, resulting in heavy rainfall. As of 11 a.m. PT Monday Pacific time, 229 mm had fallen in the Coquihalla Summit area since Saturday, the highest level currently reported by the federal agency.
The situation in BC is evolving to say the least. Below you’ll find the latest developments on this intense storm.
THE ENTIRE CITY HAS BEEN CHANGED
Residents in Merritt, BC had to evacuate as floodwaters flooded the city. It is estimated that 7,100 residents have been forced to seek refuge elsewhere in the province. Those with nowhere else to go should go to emergency service centers in Kamloops and Kelowna.
Smaller evacuations have also been carried out in Abbotsford and the Thompson-Nicola Area.
RESOURCES ON BC . HIGHWAYS
Floodwaters and landslides have closed several major highways in the province, trapping dozens of people. The province said Monday morning that 80 to 100 vehicles along a section of Highway 7 near Agassiz were stranded because of the mudslide.
Rescue teams, including those from the Canadian Armed Forces, assisted these people.
FEDS SN IS READY TO HELP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday afternoon that the federal government stands ready to help those affected by the devastating flooding in British Columbia.
COMBINATION OF LED ELEMENTS TO PROCESSING DEVICE
An Environment Canada meteorologist believes a combination of record rainfall, melting snow and rising freezing levels has resulted in catastrophic flooding.
Bobby Sekhon, Environment Canada meteorologist, told CTV News Channel from Surrey, BC.
Sekhon added that rainfall – more than double the record in a single day in some areas – has increased freezing levels in BC’s lower inland.
“That actually makes for a really bad combination of some of the snow melt, plus a lot of rain to cause some of these effects,” he said.
With files from CTVNews.ca Writer Ben Cousins and CTV News Vancouver