B.C. flood update: B.C. limits gas access in southwestern B.C. | Restrictions on non-essential travel | Abbotsford no longer constructing levee | Up to 100 mm of rain forecast

Photo: Edmonton-based soldiers board a plane bound for the B.C. zone on Nov. 18, 2021. (Galen McDougall/CTV News Edmonton)

An “atmospheric river” hit southern B.C. on Sunday and Monday, dumping huge amounts of rain across the region and causing widespread flooding, mudslides and rockslides.

Watch this file for updates and follow along.

A truck towing a horse trailer travels through flooded farmland on a road partially covered with water in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

For all our coverage on the Fraser Valley flooding and beyond, read our previous stories.

• For the latest road closures, check this DriveBC list .

• For the latest weather warnings, check this Environment Canada page .

• For the latest transit updates, follow TransLink on Twitter

• For the latest on power outages, check out B.C Hydro’s outages page .

• And follow the Twitter hashtag #bcstorm .


7 p.m. – B.C. has been warned for years of potential for key Sumas dike to fail

Dikes that were breached in Abbotsford this week following a massive rain storm were predicted to fail years ago.

Indeed, a consultant’s report found that most of the sample of dikes surveyed in the Lower Mainland were vulnerable to failure.

The failures of a 100-metre section and a second, smaller section at Cole Road, of the Sumas Lake reclamation dike in Abbotsford have exacerbated the flooding in the community of 150,000 in the Fraser Valley.

A temporary replacement is being built in place of the 100-metre failure in order to prevent the flow of more water into Sumas Prairie, an area of farms with a population of about 3,000. Sumas Lake was drained in the 1920s to create much of the farmland.

John Clague, a professor emeritus of earth sciences at Simon Fraser University, and a longtime supporter of prompt action on climate change, said a legitimate question is why such information has not been acted on.

The 2015 government of B.C. by consultants assessed a sample of 75 Lower Mainland dikes and found that 71 per cent were vulnerable to failure by overtopping, where flood waters go over top of the dike and wash it away, during either a major Fraser River or coastal flood.

The report rated the highest elevation of the key Sumas Lake reclamation dike in Abbotsford as “unacceptable,” the lowest possible in the survey. “Overtopping is expected during Nooksack River overflow,” said the report.

And that is exactly what happened this week.

Read more HERE .

— Gordon Hoekstra

3:30 p.m. – B.C. rations gasoline in southwestern B.C.

With flooding and mudslides severing highways and disrupting supply chains, B.C. took the extraordinary step Friday of imposing gasoline rationing in southwestern B.C.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province is facing a “reduced, but steady” supply of gasoline due to damaged roads and the closed Trans Mountain pipeline and warned of delays and temporary shortages at the pump as the government works to bring in more fuel through new routes.

Farnworth announced two orders under the Emergency Program Act.

The first limits gasoline purchases to 30 litres per visit to a gas station. The restriction, effective immediately, will be in place until Dec. 1 and affects drivers in the Lower Mainland — including Hope, the Fraser Valley Metro Vancouver Sea to Sky region, the Sunshine Coast — and Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands.

Essential vehicles, including emergency responders, commercial transport vehicles, health-care vehicles, and public transit, will have unfettered access to fuel.

“This will help address the supply chain disruptions which we have been experiencing,” Farnworth said at a news conference. “There will be temporary shortages, but we are taking this important step to maintain our supply of gasoline.”

Under the order, gas retailers will be required to ensure remaining reserves last until Dec. 1. Retailers and distributors are also prohibited from price-gouging.

When asked how close B.C. is to running out of gasoline, Farnworth did not respond directly but said the measures are in place to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“This order is being put in place so we are able to make sure we’ve got enough fuel over the next 10 to 11 days,” he told reporters.

He said the province is working to bring in more fuel by truck and barge from Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California.

Read more HERE .

— Cheryl Chan

2 p.m. – Abbotsford drops levee proposal, focuses on repairing dike

Abbotsford is no longer considering a proposed levee to prevent more flooding on the Sumas Prairie.

“The levee is no longer being considered and will not be built,” said Mayor Henry Braun at a news conference Friday.

He said crews are building a temporary replacement for the broken dike instead.

 A broken dike in Abbotsford Friday. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

© JENNIFER GAUTHIER A broken dike in Abbotsford Friday. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Braun said the levee idea was ditched because conditions on the ground have changed.

“The water has equalized on both sides so we don’t have water pouring into the bowl,” he said. “When we learned this new information, we had some options that we didn’t have before.”

The 2.5- kilometre levee was to be constructed between Highway 1 and Sumas Mountain and would have engulfed 22 properties.

The news likely came as a relief to homeowners who would have been affected by the levee construction.

Narinder Bhangal, 47, first got a call from city officials Thursday night informing him his tree farms in east Sumas were some of the properties expected to be at risk.

Bhangal, who owns two properties in the 38700-block of North Parallel Road, said he began a recovery mission of his family’s most sentimental belongings, including childhood photos of his son.

“I went by boat and quickly grabbed a couple of things.”

Others on dry ground, including owner Ben Vanderzwan of Fraser Valley Hay Brokers, were fortunate to have the help of dozens of volunteers.

“We started at 5 a.m. this morning to get stuff from Vanderzwan’s house,” said Jeremy Olson with Abbotsford-based Clearway Car and Truck Rentals, who volunteered along with other company staff to help with evacuation efforts. “I heard his call for help on Facebook.”

However, amid spreading rumours Friday morning that the levee construction was called off, Olson made plans to keep Vanderzwan’s belongings stored where they were loaded, in three of their flatbed trucks.

“They just don’t know what’s going to happen next,” said Olson.

By Friday afternoon, Bhangal said one of his neighbours called him and told him the levee has been called off. “I really didn’t know what wa going on,” Bhangal said.

On Friday, Braun said the city had contacted 19 out of the 22 homeowners whose homes would have been affected.

About 680 people remain evacuated from the Sumas Prairie.

— Sarah Grochowski 

7 a.m. – ‘We are not out of this by a long shot’: Up to 100mm of rain forecast for British Columbia

Limited access is slowly being restored to some British Columbia highways, but a state of emergency declared after widespread flooding in the southern region means the province may impose an order to prevent passage except for essential travel and commercial vehicles.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said details are expected Friday. They could include an order to prevent hoarding of food and other supplies and to prevent price gouging following the havoc caused by two days of record-breaking rain that led to flooding and mudslides.

“We’ve been through a lot already. And I know that there are still many challenging days ahead,” Farnworth told a news conference Thursday.

Officials and emergency services on Thursday were still trying to reach 18,000 people stranded after floods and mudslides destroyed roads, houses and bridges in what could be the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

Receding flood waters were helping rescue efforts, but up to 100mm of rain is expected next week. The downpour had blocked off entire towns and cut access to the country’s largest port in Vancouver, disrupting already strained global supply chains.

— National Post

7 a.m. – Canadian Army to build levee in Abbotsford in bid to save Sumas Prairie

Canadian Army engineers and contractors will start building a two-kilometre levee at first light Friday to deal with a broken Abbotsford dike that is allowing water to pour into the already flooded Sumas Prairie.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said this would lead to the flooding of around a dozen homes and businesses caught between the failed section of dike on the southern edge of the Sumas Lake Canal and Highway 1 (which would be used as part of the levee system), but the city had no other options.

“This has to be done,” Braun said. “Until it’s done, water continues to pour into the Sumas Prairie.”

Read more HERE.

— David Carrigg

5:30 a.m.- Coldwater River levels dropping

Officials in Merritt say levels of the Coldwater River are falling after the waterway burst its banks on Monday and overwhelmed the city’s wastewater treatment plant, forcing evacuation of the

entire community.

But as the waters recede, Merritt’s corporate services director says it’s clear the river has carved a new channel down the middle of what used to be Pine Street on the city’s northwest side.

Greg Lowis says a new island has also been formed between the river’s new course and the former riverbed.

Lowis says he understands it takes “vast amounts of energy and effort” to reroute a waterway from its chosen path, and he’s not sure what the city will do.

—The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – Volunteers rally to help those displaced by floods and slides

B.C. residents are rallying to support the province’s flooding and mudslide survivors by donating to online fundraisers or mailing essential supplies to displaced residents.

In Surrey, volunteers at the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib cooked more than 3,000 meals to serve to travellers who were stranded in Hope because of the double mudslides that came down on Highway 7. The meals were shipped by a helicopter, according to a Facebook post by volunteer Amarjit Singh Dhadwar.

Khalsa Aid Canada has also been busy the past few days with teams of volunteers in Kelowna, Kamloops and in Metro Vancouver cooking meals for stranded truckers in Princeton and sending supplies to Hope and Spences Bridge.

Baljit Lally, the Lower Mainland coordinator for Khalsa Aid, said when they heard the food was running out for 200 truckers stranded near the Hope airport, they reached out to the Khalsa Darbar temple in Vancouver, which mobilized volunteers from the community to come in and cook hundreds of meals, mainly rice and lentils, rotis and vegetable dishes.

They also reached out to London Air Services  and the company provided a flight to move all the food at no charge.

Many of the drivers are South Asian and were very grateful to receive a home-cooked meal and a much-needed cup of tea, she said.

“Tea is very important in our culture. It brings people together,” said Lally.

Read more HERE.

—Tiffany Crawford

12 a.m. – ‘Couldn’t have imagined it six months ago,’ says Horgan, but scientists have been issuing climate warnings for decades

Premier John Horgan and deputy premier Mike Farnworth this week said the high winds and torrential rains that caused catastrophic flooding, landslides, displaced 17,000 people and caused at least one death so far were unprecedented and an event not previously contemplated.

“Even the experts were just completely surprised by it,” said Horgan. “I think all British Columbians fully understand that now we have to better prepare for events like this. But we couldn’t have even imagined it six months ago.”

But scientists have been warning for more than 30 years that climate change poses a threat to B.C. — rising sea levels and more droughts, flooding and landslides.

There have been numerous reports and studies in the past decades warning of the effects of climate change, including a 2018 B.C. auditor general report that concluded the provincial government was not adequately managing the risks posed by climate change, and that key climate-driven risk areas, such as flooding and wildfires, required additional attention.

The audit found the government had not comprehensively assessed the risks posed by climate change and didn’t have a plan to move forward.

The report highlighted that increased fall and winter precipitation — in the form of high-intensity, short-duration rainfall events, also called atmospheric rivers — is expected to increase flooding in coast mountain rivers and streams and may result in more frequent landslides that generate debris flows and floods.

Read more HERE.

—Gord Hoekstra

12 a.m. – Panic-buying — not highway washouts — causing empty shelves and shortages in B.C.

Even before B.C. communities had a chance to feel the supply crunch from an unprecedented wave of severed transportation arteries, critical shortages have set in due largely to a wave of panic-buying across the province.

Barren shelves were visible at grocery stores across the B.C. Interior as of Wednesday night. In Kelowna, Vernon, Hope, Salmon Arm, Kamloops and throughout the Okanagan, virtually every major grocery store had seen its dairy, bakery and produce sections stripped bare by a sudden wave of shoppers buying in bulk.

On Wednesday, B.C. MP Dan Albas warned that evacuees from flood-damaged areas such as Merritt risked arriving into communities where they were unable to buy essentials.

“In both Kamloops & Kelowna we have many evacuated residents who had to leave with literally nothing. Finding near empty grocery stores adds serious challenges for evacuated families,” he said in a tweet.

Read more HERE.

—Tristin Hopper


4 p.m. – 1,000 cars get out of Hope as Highway 7 re-opens from that city to Mission

Close to 1,000 passenger vehicles were able to get out of Hope on Thursday as a single lane was opened from that city to Agassiz and on to Mission and Vancouver.

Once those vehicles – which had been stuck since Sunday night due to mudslides – were cleared, the single lane remained open for commercial vehicles only.

Highway 7 between Agassiz and Mission has re-opened – one lane alternating only.

A sink hole has forced the closure of Highway 19 north of Nanaimo and that section is fully closed.

According to Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming, Highway 3 should be open by the end of the week and Highway 99 should re-open to limited travel “in the coming days.”

Fleming said Highway 1 on Vancouver Island was now open (single lane alternating).

Highway One in the Fraser Valley remains closed due to flooding. Highway One from Boston Bar to Hope has re-opened for essential service vehicles only.

 3:15 p.m. – Boil water advisory issued for Sumas Prairie

The City of Abbotsford has issued a boil water advisory for the Sumas Prairie as the region’s water distribution system starts to re-open.

All water to the flooded area was shutoff at 9 p.m. on Tuesday due to uncontrollable wate-rmain breaches.

These are now being fixed, one section of pipe at a time, as the flood water level starts to recede.

However, water pressure is likely to be low, and the water is not drinkable without boiling it first. Water should be boiled for one minute, and children should not be bathed at this time.

11:45 a.m. – Highway 7 between Hope and Agassiz opens for commercial vehicles.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation is opening Highway 7 between Hope and Agassiz for commercial vehicles.

One lane was opened westbound for commercial vehicles as of 10 a.m.

The intent of this opening is to allow those commercial drivers stranded in Hope and area to make their way toward the Lower Mainland, the ministry said in a statement.

Following this evacuation of commercial vehicles westbound from Hope, Highway 7 will be closed again between Agassiz and Hope so crews can continue to work on the highway. However, emergency services vehicles will continue to have access.

The ministry hopes to have Highway 7 open to single-lane alternating traffic for all vehicles between Hope and Agassiz later Thursday.

10:30 a.m. – Disaster assistance available for flood victims

Disaster Financial Assistance is now available for eligible British Columbians in southwest, central and southeast areas of the province and Vancouver Island who were affected by flooding and landslides this week.

This assistance includes all Indigenous communities, electoral areas and municipalities within the geographic boundaries of these areas, the government said in a statement.

Financial assistance is available to homeowners, residential tenants, business owners, local governments, Indigenous communities, farmers and charitable organizations that were unable to obtain insurance to cover disaster-related losses.

Applications for assistance must be submitted to Emergency Management BC by Feb. 12.

British Columbians can access the DFA application online:  http://www.gov.bc.ca/disasterfinancialassistance

10 a.m. – Crews rescue service dog trapped in kennel during Abbotsford flood

A service dog trapped in a kennel was among the animals rescued this week from the devastating floods in Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie.

During a briefing with emergency officials on Thursday morning, Abbotsford Fire Chief Darren Lee shared the good news story of an owner and his service dog being reunited.

“We took a call upstairs and this gentleman was really distraught because he got evacuated but he wasn’t home and his dog was in a kennel,” said Lee.

“I believe it was Coquitlam Fire or Coquitlam SAR, actually, went and got that dog right near the end of the (rescue) queue. He’s a service dog and so the fellow was just over the moon.”

Lee said he was sent photos from the rescue crew of the Bernese mountain dog riding in an Abbotsford fire truck en route to being reunited with its owner.

“So it was really cool that they were able to pull that off. That was good customer service, definitely worth the risk,” said Lee.

— Stephanie Ip

7:30 a.m. – Eleven more people rescued overnight in Abbotsford, as 40 residents refuse to leave

Eleven more people were rescued overnight from the Sumas Prairie area of Abbotsford, where floods have caused catastrophic damage to property and animals.

About 40 residents, however, are refusing to leave, a decision city emergency officials said Thursday is putting the lives of emergency crews at risk.

“We are not out of this by a long shot,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, at an early-morning news conference Thursday. He said those who were refusing to leave were likely farmers located in the eastern part of Sumas Prairie.

Braun said he didn’t know exactly how many animals were lost to the flood but added that the losses to livestock, property, and infrastructure in Abbotsford would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

That figure does not include rebuilding the dikes, he added.

Read more HERE.

— Tiffany Crawford

7:20 a.m. – All eyes on the rainy weather

All eyes are on the weather over Abbotsford with clouds and rain returning to the South Coast after two days of sunshine.

Environment Canada is calling for showers today and tonight over the central Fraser Valley where flooding up to two metres deep has devastated many dairy and poultry operations.

The high water has also threatened to overwhelm a pumping station leaving the Sumas Prairie area vulnerable to even more severe flooding, but the station remains in operation today and water levels in the region have receded slightly.

The weather office is calling for rainfall of no more than a few millimetres before sunny periods are forecast to resume Friday.

—The Canadian Press

7:15 a.m. – Efforts are underway to help stranded travellers

Efforts are underway to help stranded travellers get to their destinations in flooded areas of southern B.C.

A single lane of Highway 7 west of Hope reopened briefly Wednesday night for cars and small trucks, allowing those stranded in Hope for days to get to Vancouver.

A special Via Rail train also carried about 200 stranded travellers from Hope to Vancouver overnight.

And B.C. Ferries is offering a special sailing from Sidney to Duke Point in Nanaimo at 12:30 p.m. today, with a return sailing at 4 p.m., skirting flooding related bottlenecks on the highway linking

those two cities.

— The Canadian Press

5 a.m. – Canadian Armed Forces arrive in B.C.

The first of what could be hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces personnel have arrived in B.C. to assist with flooding and landslide rescues and recovery.

A statement from the Canadian Joint Operations Command Centre says nine members from Edmonton’s Third Canadian Division Immediate Response Unit are now in the province to plan and co-ordinate ongoing relief efforts.

The statement says the exact size of the expected contingent isn’t yet available but it says armed forces members have been “identified and placed on high readiness to respond.”

A Hercules aircraft arrived in Edmonton last night and is staging for departure to B.C., joining a Griffon helicopter that will also come from Edmonton and a Cyclone helicopter from CFB Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.

— The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – Canadian Red Cross asks for donations to help B.C. flood victims 

The Canadian Red Cross has launched its B.C. Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal and  is working to get help to people in and around affected areas as quickly as possible to provide humanitarian assistance, the agency said, in a statement.

The Red Cross said money raised will allow staff to carry out relief, recovery, resiliency, and risk reduction activities at the individual and community levels.

“The devastating flooding in the coastal and interior regions of B.C. has resulted in thousands of British Columbians being displaced. The Red Cross is committed to helping during this urgent time of need,” said Pat Quealey, vice-president of British Columbia and Yukon Canadian Red Cross.

Canadians wishing to help are encouraged to make a financial donation online at  www.redcross.ca or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

— Tiffany Crawford


10:40 p.m. – Travellers thank Hope community as they return to Lower Mainland

Brent Davidson and his girlfriend Jenny Toews were among those trapped in Hope over the past few days, but are finally able to make their way home after Highway 7 partially reopened to traffic.

“Went deer hunting last weekend and the roads collapsed around us on the way home,” the New Westminster resident said. “We slept in our car one night and our family’s friend took us in. They are angels.”

The couple was up at Loon Lake with Toews’s brother’s family before planning to head home on Sunday. The relatives left about an hour before Davidson and Toews and that proved all the difference, in the wrong way. The Ruby Creek slide that closed Highway 7 happened after her brother’s family drove through but before the couple did.

“After waiting an hour on Highway 7 and realizing we’d be sleeping in our truck, we turned around so as not to be in the slide zone, and went to a Save-On-Foods parking lot for the night to sleep in the truck. Luckily, we didn’t get caught between the two slides! In Hope all of the power was out until around 5 or 6 on Monday evening.”

The next two nights they got to sleep in a bed, as they were taken in by some friends. Davidson said finally being able to leave had him feeling nothing but gratitude for the community of Hope.

“The citizens of Hope are incredible. I volunteered at the Baptist Church for about four hours yesterday and the food and clothing donations were non-stop. Someone donated a fridge to keep up with all the food coming in,” he said.

“The city wasn’t prepared for this, but the people pulled together and took care of each other. Opened their homes to strangers.”

— Patrick Johnston

9:45 p.m. – Evacuation train on its way from Hope to Vancouver

A late-night evacuation passenger train carrying about 200 people stranded for days by B.C.’s mudslides and floods has left Hope for Vancouver.

Jonathan Abecassis, a spokesman for Canadian National, said the emergency train was expected to arrive in Vancouver shortly after 10 p.m.

“It’s a joint operation,” he said in an interview from Montreal. “Emergency Management B.C. asked CN to organize it. We reached out to Via Rail and we orchestrated it with them.

“It’s about 200 evacuees who had no other way of getting out of town,” he said.

Abecassis said the evacuees boarded a Via Rail passenger train at about 8 p.m. He said the floods and slides have seriously affected rail operations but access to Vancouver from Hope was available.

“We have quite a few washouts in the area and we’re really doing whatever we can to help get people safe,” he said.

Most of the people on board the train had been in Hope since Sunday when disastrous floods and mudslides cut off many of the province’s major highways.

— The Canadian Press

7:40 p.m. – Chilliwack lifts evacuation order for Yarrow and Majuba Hill

The City of Chilliwack has downgraded its evacuation order for residents in Yarrow and Majuba Hill to an evacuation alert Wednesday afternoon.

The order still applies to nine homes: 3630 Sand Road; 3510, 3480, 3410, and 3300 Boundary Road; and 41375, 41419, 41475 and 41509 No. 5 Road.

Livestock that has already been evacuated should remain out of the area until the alert is lifted.

The flood threat is no longer as critical as the water in the Nooksack River has dropped considerably, said the city in a statement. The Fraser River also continues to drop, and water levels would go down even more once the flood gates are opened, which officials estimate will happen tomorrow.

7 p.m. – North Shore Rescue shares photos of rescue operations

North Shore Rescue posted photos on its Facebook page showing helicopter rescues and aerial footage of the flooded areas.

The search and rescue organization said it was providing hoist rescues and evacuations with Talon Helicopter today.

7 p.m. – As hoarding resurfaces, officials and experts ask for calm to maintain supply chain stability

When Terri Osmond-Hutchings went to pick up milk for coffee on Tuesday at Save-On-Foods in Prince George, the grocery store didn’t resemble much of one. Fruits and vegetables: gone. Packaged salads: none to be seen.

“There were people everywhere, but nothing there,” she said.

As floods and mudslides in southern B.C. shut highways and railways on Monday, photographs of empty shelves and toilet-paper-loaded carts re-emerged for the second time in as many years, with many fearing the consequences of broken or interrupted supply chains.

On Wednesday, public officials implored consumers to avoid panic-buying and continue normal shopping behaviours.

“Please: do not hoard items,” Premier John Horgan said in a news conference. “People, do the right thing … respect the fact that you do not need 48 eggs; a dozen will do, and leave the rest for somebody else.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, CP Railway’s operations were suspended between Spenses Bridge and Falls Creek, while CN Rail said in a statement that it’s continuing to perform “critical repair work” on its railways, with northbound and eastbound traffic from Vancouver, as well as inbound traffic east and north of Kamloops to Vancouver, remaining stalled.

Read more HERE .

— National Post

6:30 p.m. – Highway 7 to partially reopen

B.C.’s transportation ministry said Highway 7 will reopen partially to allow stranded travellers to get home.

Crews were able to clean up debris from mudslides to allow an opening for westbound passenger vehicles starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“The intent of this opening is to allow those people stranded in Hope to make their way toward the Lower Mainland,” said the ministry in a statement.

After the evacuation of passenger vehicles, the highway will be closed again between Agassiz and Hope so crews can continue work on the highway.

Sections of the route may be single-lane alternating traffic. Motorists should expect delays, said the ministry.

— Cheryl Chan

5:30 p.m. – Mudslide survivor recalls hearing ‘roar of mud and trees and rocks’

Out of the corner of her eye, Chelsey Hughes saw a tree moving.

Before she realized what was happening, her car was broadsided by a wall of mud and debris. It pushed her car sideways on Highway 7, smashed in windows and caved in her front windshield.

“It was just a roar of mud and trees and rocks,” Hughes recalled. “I must have been screaming the whole time but I don’t really remember the movement. I just remember my car stopping. I was like: ‘What now?’ ”

The mudslide hit her car sometime Sunday between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Her GPS had estimated that she would be arriving home in Surrey in 60-to-90 minutes but that wouldn’t be happening for several more hours now.

Hughes was driving her 2018 Volkswagen Golf westbound. She was in a long line of cars detoured onto the highway on the north side of the Fraser River because of all the road closures. She was coming back from Summerland where she had been visiting a friend and her family.

Hughes believes the slide occurred near Maria Slough, about 132 kilometres east of Vancouver.

When her car finally came to rest, she realized her hair was matted and her face covered in mud.

Behind her, she heard people screaming. They turned out to be four University of B.C. students whose car was right up against her bumper.

A tree had fallen on top of her car, smashing her sunroof, which was how she was able to get out of her car.

Read more HERE .

— Kevin Griffin

5:30 p.m. – Sandbag volunteers rally to save key Abbotsford, B.C., pump house

When Richard Krahn saw an online call for “men and women with shovels” late Tuesday night, he didn’t hesitate.

At 11 p.m., the Chilliwack teacher met about 200 people in the parking lot of Duke’s Pub — many of them his friends and neighbours from Greendale, a rural area that borders Abbotsford on the eastern side of the Vedder Canal — and waited to see what was needed.

“It didn’t cross my mind not to go,” Krahn said Wednesday.

The volunteers were told to take a closed portion of Highway 1 to get to the easternmost part of Abbotsford, where the Barrowtown Pump Station was labouring to deal with an unprecedented volume of water, which continues to flood the Sumas Prairie from the overflowing Nooksack River in the United States.

If the pumphouse flooded and the pumps failed, according to the City of Abbotsford, it would cause “catastrophic” damage and possible loss of life on the Sumas Prairie as water from the much-larger Fraser River would overwhelm the area, adding up to three metres more water to the first wave of flooding.

Read more HERE .

— Glenda Luymes

4:30 p.m. – Floodwaters in Abbotsford receding for now

The feared catastrophic flooding in Abbotsford has been averted for now as flood waters began receding Wednesday.

But officials are not yet breathing a sigh of relief.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun the situation can change.

“This is a dynamic situation,” he told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “We know this is not over, and this can change very quickly.”

Many areas still have water 1.5 metres deep, and “you can’t tell the damage underneath,” said Braun.

He warned drivers not to be fooled by receding waters, adding engineers will need to assess the stability of the area’s roads and bridges before drivers get back on them: “Just because a road is dry doesn’t mean it’s safe.”