Our hearts go out to family, friends, acquaintances and fellow Canadians who have been caught in the B.C. rain event that’s unprecedented in known history.
A news service quoted a meteorologist saying, “It is a little bit mind-boggling. We’re going to likely be analyzing these numbers for days and weeks to come because they are that extraordinary.”
He’s talking about 174 mm of rain in the Hope district by Nov. 14, for example.
Throughout the province, there have been power outages, even in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Essential services including medical care have been affected. Our reporter, Robin Wark, lives on Vancouver Island. He said power was out Wednesday for about five hours. It came back on briefly and went out again. Early Thursday, still no power.
Although the Island was spared much of the grief, highways and roads were closed or partially closed due to flooding.
We’ve seen images of the washouts on the B.C. superhighway, the Coquihalla and rivers on Highway One. Throughout the mountainous province, unbelievable torrents destroyed huge cement bridge structures, and mudslides threatened lives.
Near Vancouver, in the heart of beautiful, productive Abbotsford the Sumas Lake basin that was drained in 1924 to provide fertile farmland, has become a lake again. (“Mapping the Flood in Abbotsford” – The Tyee)
Water from the USA breached the Sumas River Dike and flowed into the old lake basin.
Four of the largest pumps in Western Canada, capable of handling 250,000 gallons per minute, are pumping the renegade water up three metres into the Fraser River.
Along with over a thousand people evacuated in Abbotsford, think of the animals. There are images of farmers trying to rescue their dairy cows. What will they eat? Many animals will be lost.
We prairie dwellers have travelled those highways often. For many of us, we've got family in B.C.
I think of the small businesses in the Fraser Valley. My glass cream bottle reminds me of the Dutchman Dairy.
The province is in a state of emergency. There's been many evacuations such as the inland mountain town of Merritt. Throughout the province, rescues have been by helicopter and watercraft.
Grocery shelves have been emptied in some of the interior cities as supplies couldn’t get through on the roads.
Today, Nov. 18, I am told the current route between Vancouver and Edmonton means a 90-minute ferry over to the Island, a four-hour drive up to Port Hardy on the northern end of Vancouver Island, then an 18-hour ferry to Prince Rupert, followed by a 16-hour trip on the Yellowhead to Edmonton. Truckers, desperate to deliver cargo have a long journey between Alberta and the West Coast cities.