Abbotsford opens evacuee reception centre, declares ‘high alert’ after floods and mudslides displace residents

November 15, 2021
Abbotsford opens evacuee reception centre, declares 'high alert' after floods and mudslides displace residents

Incessant, heavy rain has led to a number of rock and mudslides in multiple places across southern B.C., forcing some people out of their homes and closing multiple major highways in the area. 

In Abbotsford, B.C., there have been a series of mudslides and localized flooding in a number of different areas across the city. The city said all of its emergency services are responding, and officials have opened an emergency operations centre for people whose homes flooded Sunday evening after hours of unrelenting rain.

The highly specialized Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Task Force has been deployed to the nearby community of Agassiz after a landslide swept across Highway 7. 

Vancouver fire Chief Karen Fry said the slide has potentially trapped vehicles with people inside.

The entire Fraser Valley region, including areas around Hope, was placed on flood watch earlier Sunday. 

Multiple warnings

Further east in southern B.C., more than 30 homes have been ordered to evacuate west of Princeton as the Tulameen River floods. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen ordered families living in Electoral Area “H” to leave their homes immediately.

The area is under a flood warning, as is the area around the Coldwater River near Brookmere.

A flood watch means residents should be on alert for rising river levels, while a flood warning means river water has breached culverts and flooding will result.

Meanwhile, officials with the B.C. River Forecast Centre said they are closely monitoring the river levels around areas of concern like Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and Hope.

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued rainfall warnings Sunday for most of the southern half of the province. 

What to do in Abbotsford

Abbotsford’s emergency centre for anyone displaced is located in the Abbotsford Recreation Centre, which is located at 2499 McMillan Road.

“For any residents displaced due to the flooding and/or landslide events currently occurring in the City … if you are unable to return home or have been evacuated from your home, please head to the ARC for assistance and shelter,” the city said.

As a result of the floods and mudslides, Abbotsford’s website also lists multiple roadways it has closed to motorists, including parts of Wright Street, Gladwin Street, Dawson, Whatcom, Cranberry Court, and Briarwood Place.

“Please avoid these areas if possible,” the city stated. “Please do not attempt to travel past any of these closures. If you do not need to leave your home, please stay home.”

The city’s police department said Sunday evening that no one has yet been reported injured. It urged the public to call 911 for emergencies related to flooding or mudslides.

Drivers urged to stay home

Drivers in the province are being asked to avoid any unnecessary travel.

According to DriveBC, a mudslide just after the Great Bear Snowshed poured over the southbound lanes of the Coquihalla with rocky debris covering the road.

Other highways throughout B.C., including the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11, were also affected by debris flows and flooding on Sunday.

A street in Abbotsford’s Clayburn Village neighbourhood is flooded with water after several rainfall warnings and a flood watch was issued for the Fraser Valley on Sunday. (CattJackk/Twitter)

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