The City of Abbotsford has opened an emergency operations centre for residents displaced from their homes by multiple mudslides and flooding on Sunday evening, as persistent rain caused problems in several areas in southern B.C.
Abbotsford said all its emergency services are responding to what has been declared a “high” level of alert.
“Various small mud slides and localized flooding have occurred in many areas within the City,” the city said on its website Sunday evening. “All City resources are currently engaged in mitigating these emergencies including Abbotsford Police, Fire Rescue, Engineering and Public works.”
The rain-related emergencies came after provincial authorities issued a flood watch Sunday afternoon for the entire Fraser Valley region, including areas around Hope.
There were also higher-level flood warnings issued for the areas around the Tulameen River west of Princeton, as well as 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.
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Meanwhile, officials with the B.C. River Forecast Centre say 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, 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.