A deadly “once in a century” storm in Canada has killed at least one person and cut off road and rail connections around Vancouver.
Two days of heavy rains in the Pacific province of British Columbia have led to floods and landslides and shut down roads, requiring the evacuation of an entire city. The rains caused the atmosphere in the river, which has narrow humid air paths with too much water vapor.
The woman died in a landslide about 160 miles northeast of Vancouver. At least two others are missing.
Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes after Sunday’s storm. The rescue helicopters carried 275 people, 50 of them children, by plane, blocking the highway near the mountain town of Agassiz.
More than 7,000 residents of Merritt City, about 200 miles from Vancouver, were asked to evacuate Monday after the river overflowed and bridges were cut and the sewage treatment plant closed. But some residents are still stuck in their homes on Tuesday, authorities have said.
The towns of Chilliwack and Abbotsford have also ordered partial evacuations.
Floods and mudslides completely cut off rail access to Vancouver Harbor. According to reports, the port moves about $ 440 million (over £ 325 million) worth of cargo daily.
“All train traffic to and from the port of Vancouver has been suspended due to flooding in the interior of British Columbia,” said Matti Polychronis, a spokesman for the port.
Part of the Coquihalla Highway, which connects Vancouver to the interior, was severely damaged. The Trans-Canada Highway was also submerged in flood water.
Canadian Secretary of Public Security Mike Farnworth said that in some cases, such as in Coquihalla, “it may take several weeks or months” before things return to normal. “We don’t know it until the experts do the work that needs to be done, and they’re doing it right now,” he said.
He added that the province is considering a state of emergency “once a century” after the storm.
The floods temporarily halted much of the transportation of wheat and rapeseed from Canada. The Trans Mountain pipeline, which transports up to 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta to the Pacific coast, was closed.
On the other side of the border in the United States, more than 50,000 Washington state electricity customers were left without electricity on Tuesday. Schools in and around the border town of Bellingham were closed on Tuesday for the second day in a row.
In Ferndale, northern Washington, authorities urged people to evacuate areas near the rising Nooksack River, which they fear will break the dam. Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a severe weather emergency in 14 counties.
This is the second large-scale disaster the country has seen in less than six months after wildfires destroyed the entire city during a record heat dome.
Additional reporting by agencies