As the heavy rains and floods that hit British Columbia began to subside on Tuesday, authorities said a woman’s body was recovered after a mudslide and it would take weeks for the province to recover from a storm that left hundreds of people dead. blocked on highways.
The woman’s body was recovered late Monday from the remains of a mudslide that occurred that morning on Highway 99 near Lillooet, British Columbia, about 150 miles northeast of Vancouver, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement Tuesday. Dwayne McDonald, the commander of the Equestrian Police in British Columbia, said at two other people after the mudslide and rescue teams are still searching the area for helpless vehicles. news reporting Tuesday.
The woman’s death was the first reported during the storms that hit the Pacific Northwest since last week, which provincial authorities at the news called “the worst weather storm in a century” to hit the area.
Rescue teams recovered seven vehicles from the cotoglita place, who was littered with debris and trees, David MacKenzie, manager for the Pemberton District Search and Rescue, said in an interview Tuesday. They were waiting for the arrival of “heavy equipment” to remove the debris, he said.
“It’s very overwhelming how much debris covers the area,” he said.
Kathie Rennie, who survived the mudslide, said several people had already stopped their cars because another mudslide had blocked their way moments earlier.
“It dropped faster than the speed of sound,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “We didn’t hear it. It just fell and we were stuck in the middle. “
She said those who were not trapped in the mud tried to dig people out with shovels and chainsaws.
“We did first aid and got into our vehicles wherever we got out of the trash,” she said.
Several other highways remained closed Tuesday night, creating supply chain issue points while repair crews waited for floodwaters to recede. The province’s transportation authorities have asked people to travel only if it is essential.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said further Twitter on Tuesday night that he offered John Horgan, the prime minister of British Columbia, “any support the province needs” in the coming weeks and months. In another statement on Twitter, he said he had spoken with the mayors of four hard-hit areas to say he would help the areas rebuild.
“To the people of British Columbia: we have your back,” he wrote.
His statement came a day after hundreds of people were rescued from highways in British Columbia, officials said, after the downpour caused mudslides that trapped people in their cars and prompted an evacuation. Mike Farnworth, the province’s public safety minister, said in the news that the storm caused three landslides that cut off highways.
Officials said about 275 people who had been stranded since Sunday evening on Highway 7 near Agassiz, a small community east of Vancouver, were secured by helicopter.
“These have been extraordinarily difficult for a few days in our province and will be many weeks of recovery,” Rob Fleming, the province’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, said at the news conference.
Abbotsford, a town of about 162,000 people near the border between Canada and the United States, was flooded by mudslides and flooding, local authorities said. No injuries were reported, but residents were told late Monday to leave their homes and take refuge in a convention center and high school in nearby Chilliwack.
On Tuesday night, the city in a statement ordered residents in the Sumas Prairie area to immediately evacuate because the area was expected to see a “catastrophic” flood. The Barrowtown Pump Station, which ensures the area remains a prairie and not a lake, was due to a “near failure,” city officials said.
“With the failure of this key infrastructure, water within the Sumas Prairie will not be able to be pumped out and water from the Fraser River will begin to enter the already flooded Sumas Prairie area,” the statement said.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said at news hearings on Tuesday that evacuation orders had been extended to include up to 1,100 homes. He said the authorities in his city, with the help of those in Chilliwack, “are doing everything we can to minimize the impact of the flood.”
More than 80 families seeking shelter have registered with the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Center, he added. “I haven’t seen such ruin during my 68 years of living here, and it breaks my heart,” Mr. Braun said.
Rescues continued on Tuesday, but emergency officials said high flood waters prevented them. Cars were overturned and roads were impassable, Mr Braun said.
Abbotsford borders the city of Sumas, in Washington State, where highways were also flooded and rivers swelled to the edge of its banks.
Loren Taves, a farmer in Abbotsford, said that while his family’s farm in the Highlands neighborhood was not affected by the floodwaters, his brother’s riparian farm in the Sumas Prairie was underwater. Earlier, his brother had texted him a picture of a red barn, half submerged in water, a scene he described as both “serene and perverse.”
The Fraser Valley region, which includes Abbotsford, is dense with farms that raise poultry and grow produce like berries, Mr Taves said.
“Those farms definitely have big problems with rising water inside the barns. What do you do for your cattle? What if a food truck can’t come in and bring food for your chickens? ” said Mr. Taves.
The weather system was caused by an atmospheric river, part of a convergence of storms so vast that it swept from California into Washington and southern British Columbia.
The weather system that dumped heavy rain and triggered mudslides in Washington State over the weekend moved inland on Tuesday and was over central Canada, said Mike McFarland, a meteorologist from Seattle-based National Weather Service.
“We have dry weather today and we really don’t have significant weather systems coming up for next week,” he said. “It will give all rivers a chance to retreat, and will give people a chance to recover after the floods.”