B.C. flood update: Hwy. 3 reopens between Hope and Princeton | Hwy. 1 in Sumas area

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An “atmospheric river” hit southern B.C. Nov. 14-15, dumping huge amounts of rain across the region and causing widespread flooding, mudslides and rockslides.

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Following an assessment, the stretch of highway was deemed safe. The road is now open again to essential and commercial traffic. Crews will remain at the scene to monitor the situation.

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Drivers should expect single-lane alternating traffic in some sections of the highway.

For the latest on road conditions visit DriveBC.com .

1:30 p.m. – More rain forecast for B.C. south coast starting Thursday

Environment Canada is warning about two atmospheric river systems that would dump even more rain on the already-sodden B.C. southwestern coast.

Starting Thursday, an atmospheric river tapping into subtropic moisture and heat is forecast to dump about 40 to 70 millimetres of rain in the Fraser Valley and potentially up to 100 mm in the North Shore mountains and Howe Sound region.

“Please keep in mind that these are non-negligible totals, and that they are likely to exacerbate the vulnerabilities on the ground currently,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.

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The system is also forecast to bring freezing levels up to a “fairly high” level of around 2,500 metres which will trigger some snow melt, said Castellan.

While the rain fall amounts aren’t expected to be as high as the previous storm that caused flooding and mudslides across the region, there is concern given ground conditions and existing damage.

“When you have a parade of storms… upwards of 200 per cent of normal rain for much of the south coast, the soils are very saturated,” warned Castellan.

More rain is expected into the weekend and early next week, although amounts are not yet certain, said the weather agency.

On Monday, northern B.C. is expected to be pummelled with as much as 100 millimetres of rain. There are also snowfall warnings for the Coquihalla Highway and the Fraser Canyon, which are already impacted by highway closures from the last storm.

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“We are bracing for what will likely end up to be a record-breaking fall in terms of precipitation numbers for many communities in the south coast,” said Castellan.

Atmospheric rivers, which are also known as pineapple expresses or moist conveyer belts, are regions in the atmosphere that transport water vapour outside of the tropics. When these rivers make landfall, they release the vapour as rain or snow.

— Cheryl Chan

1:15 p.m. – Tories, NDP call for House of Commons to have emergency debate on B.C. floods

OTTAWA — The Conservatives and the NDP want an emergency debate in the House of Commons this week on the floods wreaking havoc in B.C.

B.C. is bracing for more extreme weather a week after an “atmospheric river” pummelled the province with heavy rains triggering deadly mudslides and widespread flooding.

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The province is working as fast as it can to rebuild and repair highways, bridges and rail lines washed out by floodwaters in what some experts estimate will turn out to be the most expensive weather event in Canadian history.

Conservative B.C. MPs Ed Fast and Dan Albas say an emergency debate on rebuilding B.C. following the disaster could send a message to British Columbians that the federal government is “seized with this crisis.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party is going to request an emergency debate on the need to take faster action to combat climate change but also to better prepare provinces for the extreme weather that’s expected to become more common.

— The Canadian Press

11:30 a.m. – Highway 1 in Sumas area reopens to essential travel

The B.C. government has expanded non-essential travel restrictions to include a newly-opened section of Highway 1 in the Abbotsford-Sumas area.

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But he warned more rain is expected to fall in southern B.C. from Wednesday to Friday. He encouraged people to stay home if they can to keep vehicles clear for essential vehicles.

“If you don’t have to travel for non-essential purposes, particularly for long distances, then don’t,” he said.

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Two routes connecting the Lower Mainland to the Interior have recently re-opened: Highway 7 connecting to Highway 3 reopened Friday primarily for heavy commercial vehicles, while Highway 99 connecting to Highway 97 opened on Saturday.

A stretch of Highway 1 east of Chilliwack between Bridal Falls to Hope also opened Saturday night. No travel restrictions are in place, but officials said drivers should not be out of the road unless their travel is essential.

Fleming said officials will provide an update in the coming days on temporary fixes to the badly-damaged Coquihalla.

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Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railway is “cautiously optimistic” it can restart operations Tuesday night, Fleming added. The opening of the rail line would allow goods to be transported between B.C. to Alberta and beyond, he said.

On Monday, Farnworth also clarified the exemptions the federal government has provided for people living in border communities who can go to the United States for essential goods without the requirement of a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test upon their return.

“When I say essentials, I mean food and fuel,” he said. “I don’t mean family trips or Black Friday shopping expeditions.”

— Cheryl Chan

9 a.m. – Fundraisers set up for toddler who lost parents to B.C. mudslide

Fundraisers have been set up for the orphaned daughter of a B.C. couple killed in a fatal mudslide on Highway 99.

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Anita and Mirsad Hadzic were driving home to the Lower Mainland after a weekend getaway in the Okanagan on Nov. 15 when they were caught in a thundering wave of mud, rock, debris that swept the highway south of Lillooet.

Search and rescue crews had been scouring the area looking for people reported missing.

Last Monday, RCMP confirmed a woman was killed in the slide. On Friday, police found the bodies of three more men.

Tributes for the couple, described as “incredible parents,” have poured in on social media. Two online fundraisers have been set up for their two-year-old daughter.

“Anita and Mirsad were the most wonderful parents. They were kind, hardworking and loved by so many,” wrote Flor Gil Pinzon, who set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the toddler.

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“Their daughter is in the care of her family and the memory of her parents will live on through them and her.”

“Mirsad and Anita were both kind human beings, generous and loving individuals, supportive friends and most of all, incredible parents who would have done anything for their daughter,” said Ali Azodi, who also organized a  GoFundMe fundraiser . “ This devastating loss is felt by so many who loved them dearly.”

Together, both pages have raised more than $100,000 within a day of being set up.

6:30 a.m. – Chilliwack schools reopen, some Abbotsford schools remain closed

All schools in Chilliwack re-open on Monday after being closed last week due to road closures, evacuation alerts and flooding caused by the devastating atmospheric river starting Nov. 13.

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In Abbotsford, the school district is continuing with a mix of closures, virtual learning and in-person learning this week.

Barrowtown Elementary and Upper Sumar Elementary, which are affected by road closures and evacuation orders, remain closed.

Several other schools are providing virtual classes to students: ASIA Sumas Mountain Campus, Abbotsford Traditional Middle, Abbotsford Traditional Secondary, Chief Dan George Middle, Clayburn Middle, and William A. Fraser Middle schools.

All other elementary and secondary schools, as well as Abbotsford Middle, Colleen & Gordie Howe Middle, Eugene Reimer Middle schools and Abbotsford Virtual School will have in-person classes.

In a notice posted to its website Sunday, the district said it is aware a number of families have been impacted…

Read More: B.C. flood update: Hwy. 3 reopens between Hope and Princeton | Hwy. 1 in Sumas area

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