The latest news on mudslides and flooding in British Columbia. (All times Eastern)
British Columbia’s public safety minister is expected to outline the specifics of the latest provincial state of emergency later today.
Mike Farnworth has already hinted at restrictions on all but essential travel through flood-ravaged areas, including the Fraser Valley and the region around Merritt.
The province announced emergency measures on Wednesday in response to catastrophic flooding in many parts of southern B.C. after record amounts of rain fell between Saturday and Monday.
About 120 Canadian Armed Forces members have arrived in Abbotsford as that Fraser Valley city begins a massive rebuild of damaged dikes, roads, bridges and other infrastructure following flooding earlier this week.
One of the most pressing jobs facing the soldiers is construction of more than two kilometres of levee or temporary dike to stop river water from gushing into the Sumas Prairie lowlands, where many dairy and poultry farms have already been inundated.
In addition to the teams arriving through the day, the military says more than 200 troops are on standby in Edmonton awaiting orders to deploy to B.C.
Officials in Merritt say levels of the Coldwater River are falling after the waterway burst its banks on Monday and overwhelmed the city’s wastewater treatment plant, forcing evacuation of the entire community.
But as the waters recede, Merritt’s corporate services director says it’s clear the river has carved a new channel down the middle of what used to be Pine Street on the city’s northwest side.
Greg Lowis says a new island has also been formed between the river’s new course and the former riverbed.
Lowis says he understands it takes “vast amounts of energy and effort” to reroute a waterway from its chosen path, and he’s not sure what the city will do.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.
The Canadian Press