The Sumas Prairie flood waters have dropped enough in recent days to allow Highway 1 from Abbotsford to Chilliwack to reopen on Thursday.
British Columbia, on the other hand, is far from out of the woods, as a succession of strong weather systems moving in from the Pacific Ocean is expected to arrive on the same day.
There’s still no indication on when the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt will reopen — or even if it will happen this winter — or when Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge will reopen.
Highway 1 will be available to everyone between Vancouver and Chilliwack, but only critical vehicles will be able to travel between Chilliwack and Hope after the reopening.
On Wednesday, a boil water advisory for the Sumas Prairie was elevated to a do not use warning, and the RCMP revealed that a sixth person had likely died as a result of the mid-November rainfall that ravaged the province’s southwest.
Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth stated that B.C. “Uncharted territory” remained. Most of B.C. was under wind and rain warnings. Since September, there have been a dozen so-called atmospheric rivers along the shore.
Even regular rainfall, according to Farnworth, could lead already-swollen rivers to surge to dangerous levels, urging homeowners to prepare for evacuations and keep an eye on the news.
As modellers tried to anticipate where and when flooding and mudslides would occur, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the government was prepared to restrict some routes as a precaution.
“These storms arrive at a time when we’re already dealing with some of the most catastrophic weather we’ve ever seen,” said Farnworth. “Although we are up to the task, we are dealing with a mammoth task.”
Source: Vancouver Sun