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B.C. storm: Highways blocked, streets flooded, schools closed, power out, city evacuated

Vancouver -

Most of southern British Columbia remained under some type of weather warning or watch into the afternoon Monday, with rain, wind or even snow in the forecast.

A storm that first began to batter B.C. on Sunday continued through the day on Monday, drenching parts of the affected area and flooding others.

The rain was so heavy in parts of the province that an entire city was evacuated, some schools were closed and many highways were blocked without any estimated time of reopening.

Power has been restored to hundreds of thousands of BC Hydro customers, but about 60,000 were still in the dark as of Monday afternoon.

Environment Canada warned winter storm conditions are expected on some B.C. highways later in the day – including snow on the Trans-Canada and Coquihalla highways – and 90-km/h winds could lead to further power outages.

What follows is a summary of the storm's impacts across the province.



Thousands have already been forced to leave their homes in B.C.'s Interior due to evacuation orders.

The entire city of Merritt, population 7,100, is under such an order, which began with just a few neighbourhoods and expanded as the morning progressed.

The order followed a warning not to use any water in the area, as the city's wastewater treatment plant failed.

Meanwhile, 34 addresses in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen were placed under evacuation order late Sunday night because of flooding, and on Monday, alerts were issued for properties within the Village of Keremeos and electoral areas B and G as well. Check details on the RDOS website, as there may be further updates later in the day. 

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for Electoral Area N, and has declared a local state of emergency.

In social media messages, the prime minister and federal minister for emergency preparedness expressed support for those dealing with flooding.

"To the people of Merritt, and to all British Columbians affected by the flooding: please stay safe," Justin Trudeau wrote.

Bill Blair said his ministry is closely monitoring the situation in southern B.C., and that staff have been in touch with provincial counterparts and "stand ready to support British Columbians if needed."


The Lower Mainland's Fraser Valley is also being hit hard by the storm. An Environment Canada rainfall warning suggested the western part of the region would see a total rainfall of up to 180 millimetres through the day Monday.

The central and eastern Fraser Valley was warned to expect even more: up to 250 millimetres by the evening.

Much of that rain had already fallen by a weather warning issued Monday morning, the weather agency said

Meanwhile, several evacuation alerts were issued for neighbourhoods in Abbotsford with severe flooding damaging dozens of homes and leading to major road closures.

The City of Abbotsford issued evacuation alerts for the Clayburn, Eagle Mountain, Ten Oaks and Matsqui Village areas. Those alerts were upgraded to orders in the Sumas Prairie and Straiton areas later in the day Monday, and transportation officials said a stretch of Highway 1 will be closed through the city.

Several local roads were also closed due to flooding or mudslides.

The city has seen several of these mudslides, though no injuries have been reported yet.

An emergency support centre located at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre was set up on Sunday for displaced residents.

Along the coastline, Metro Vancouver, Whistler, Howe Sound and parts of the Sunshine Coast could expect washouts, pooling water and rising rivers as those areas are hit with up to 180 millimetres of rain, Environment Canada said.

A weather warning updated shortly before 4:30 p.m. said places close to the water should expect strong winds overnight in the wake of a cold front.


On Vancouver Island, where as much as 180 millimetres of rain was expected to fall in the morning alone, residents are dealing with rising rivers and localized flooding.

Highways and roadways were flooded on parts of the island, and thousands on southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands lost power as the storm pummelled the area.


Several B.C. highways, particularly some that connect the Lower Mainland to the Interior, are closed for a second day due to flooding and mudslides. 

In an update Monday, B.C.'s transportation ministry posted a long list of closures on social media, warning some drivers there are no available routes to their destinations.

Not sure whether your route is open? Plan your trip using our interactive traffic map

Some who rely on service from BC Ferries were stranded as sailings were cancelled due to weather. Top Stories

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