BC: Intense rainfall forces state of emergency (Reports)

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BC: Intense rainfall forces state of emergency (Reports)
BC: Intense rainfall forces state of emergency (Reports)

B.C.’s River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for some parts of the South Coast, as flooding in several communities caused road closures, power outages and prompted a local state of emergency on Vancouver Island.

As of Saturday morning, the North Shore and Metro Vancouver remained under the alert that was posted Friday. Areas of concern include the Coquitlam River, Alouette River, Kanaka Creek and MacKay Creek. The western and southern parts of Vancouver Island are also on alert for flooding.

An atmospheric river pounded the South Coast Friday, and overnight, with the heaviest rainfall measured on the west coast of Vancouver Island and along the North Shore Mountains.

Some rivers flooded, and on Vancouver Island a local state of emergency was declared in Cowichan Valley.

A statement from the Cowichan Valley Regional District says widespread flooding forced more than two dozen residents to evacuate early Saturday as key transportation corridors were cut off by rising flood water.

The district says in a statement that about 28 evacuated residents from North Cowichan and the Halalt First Nation were staying at the local community centre.

Several roads were closed because of washouts on Saturday, according to Drive B.C., including Highway 1 on Vancouver Island. The southbound lane was closed because of flooding at Exit 6 in Saanich.

Provincewide telecommunications issues were being reported, with Bell customers and B.C. Transit Police among those affected.

Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders were trapped overnight at Sasquatch Mountain Resort after heavy rain and a landslide washed out a one-kilometre section of Hemlock Valley Road in Agassiz.

The slide had left the road impassable to vehicles in both directions. The mountain suspended all skiing and said it was serving food to guests that had to stay on the mountain.

The Ministry of Transportation said in a statement Saturday that residents of the Hemlock Valley community are advised to stay at home.

“People who are currently at the Sasquatch Mountain Resort are advised to stay at the resort until crews can clear the debris from the road for safe travel,” the statement said.

The route is the only available exit for residents of the Hemlock Valley community and for those at the Sasquatch Mountain Resort.

A statement from the resort said it had no choice but to suspend activities until the road is reopened.

Shelby Lim, the director of marketing at the resort, says more people than usual are at the resort because a race was scheduled for the weekend. She says as many as 500 people are in the village and at the resort, including about 100 staff.

The Ministry of Transportation also said that it will require five to six days to create single-lane alternating traffic. A helicopter company is offering a shuttle service off the mountain to the nearby Chilliwack airport for $150 per person.

DriveBC reports that an update on the Hemlock Valley situation will be next provided at 9 a.m. Sunday.

At Harrison Hot Springs, the ministry reports that Rockwell Drive between Dogwood Lane and Rockwell Lane is closed in both directions due to a washout. There is no detour and some residents are being evacuated as of Saturday evening.

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