The body of a woman has been recovered from a mudslide that occurred Monday morning near Lillooet, British Columbia, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
There were three areas where vehicles were trapped between debris flows, including one on Highway 99 near Lillooet and two on Highway 7, Emergency Management British Columbia communications director Jordan Turner told CNN.
Nearly 300 travelers ended up stuck in the region, according to Jonathan Gormick with Canada Task Force 1.
Up to 50 of those trapped on Highway 7 east of Vancouver were children, CNN Canada news partner CBC News reported.
Pemberton Search and Rescue crews rescued those trapped on Highway 99 by early Monday afternoon, Turner said.
Canadian Military helicopters and a Vancouver-based heavy search and rescue group worked for several hours to rescue those trapped on Highway 7 in the Agassiz area.
“This took considerable time because a geotechnical engineer first had to assess the remaining slope for stability, and the aircraft worked in very high winds and heavy rain,” said Gormick.
Crews will be back in the area Tuesday “to slowly dismantle and examine the debris fields with heavy equipment, search K9’s and rescue teams to determine if any additional persons were trapped by the slide debris,” Gormick said.
“Determining if vehicles or people are unaccounted for has been made difficult by the number of slides in southwestern BC, the impact on infrastructure, and multiple communities under evacuation orders.”
At least nine people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries following the landslide near Agassiz, according to a tweet from the British Columbia Emergency Health Services.
Those trapped on Highway 7 in the Haig area were able to drive out during the afternoon after a section of the debris flow was cleared, Turner said.
Rain and wind have prompted evacuation orders in British Columbia and flood warnings in Washington state.
Officials ordered all 7,000 residents of the city of Merritt, British Columbia, to evacuate.
“High flood waters have rendered the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant inoperable for an indefinite period. Continued habitation of the community without sanitary services presents risk of mass sewage back-up and personal health risk,” city officials said Monday in a statement announcing the evacuation order.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is ready to give the town whatever assistance it needs.
“We’re here for you,” he said.
Elsewhere in the province, several homes in Abbotsford were ordered evacuated after a local emergency was declared.
“The City of Abbotsford is currently experiencing heavy rainfall that has resulted in several localized emergencies within the City. Various small mud slides and localized flooding have occurred in many areas within the City,” the city said in a news release.
There are numerous closures and delays on highways. Transportation BC tweeted images of mudslides covering roadways.
Police in the US border town of Sumas, Washington, tweeted videos of flooding.
One video shared by Sumas Police shows a road inundated with water. Police told residents in a tweet Monday that the road to the Canadian border had been closed.
Another video shared by Bellingham resident Christine Smith shows a substantial amount of water from Squalicum Creek spilling over and rushing onto the street.
More than 70,000 customers in Washington were experiencing power outages early Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
Dozens of roads were closed Monday after heavy rains battered the area for three days.
High winds were so strong in the area that the National Weather Service reported a 99 mph gust at the 6,680 foot elevation on Mount Rainier.
“Winds with the surge through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, across Whidbey Island, into the shores of Skagit and Snohomish Counties have been gusting between 45-60 MPH. The winds should weaken as it makes it way further inland. The wind change will be sudden and strong #wawx”, the National Weather Service’s office in Seattle tweeted.
Several rivers in Washington are under flood warnings and Olympic National Park reported several road closures due to flooding and mudslides.
The US Coast Guard tweeted that it was helping local authorities evacuating residences west of the town of Forks.
“Report of 10 people in danger of rising flood waters in the area. No reported injuries,” the tweet said.
Skagit County officials announced that Covid-19 testing and vaccine sites would be closed Monday and Tuesday because of flooding and high winds.