The overwhelming task of clean up has now begun after a deluge of rain caused widespread flooding this afternoon in Kamloops.
The mud and debris blanketed roads, stranding motorists, many climbing to the vehicle’s roofs for safety.
The flash floods also prompted a landslide on Highway Five near Sun Rivers.
RCMP Corporal Cheryl Bush says police are dealing with traffic headaches.
“There is several areas where water has accumulated and therefore caused incidents, and as well running water on Hillside has caused some incidents, so we are trying to mitigate them as best as possible.”
Kamloops Fire and Rescue Chief Dale Mclean says crews scrambled to respond to dozens of calls.
“Mainly it’s been flooding, we’ve had intersections with accidents, and we’ve had reports of cars under water.”
Eye witness Jeff Schenderling was driving when the flood hit.
”We saw the truck in front of us start doing a U-turn and turning around, so right there that made our decision to turn around too, and as we decided to turn around, we noticed the car in front of him decided to try and make it through, the flood hit, the water started coming down, his car was sliding backwards and spun around, he had to jump out of his car and swim to the sidewalk.”
Public Works Director Jen Fretz says the city is trying to keep the sewer and storm system running.
“We have over 60 staff from public works on the ground with multiple pieces of equipment and we are going everything we can with what we’ve got.”
Meanwhile the Mayor of Kamloops, Peter Milobar, doesn’t think he’s ever seen this kind of quick flash flooding in his community.
”Every so often you get a big hit like this but certainly it was one that is pretty hard pressed to come up in memory when it has come down this hard and this fast. It was very short lived but certainly lots of volume of water and we will have several days of clean up ahead of us in terms of basements and things like that.”
Milobar says it’s too early to speculate on the extent of damage.
Environment Canada says up to 25 millimeters of intense rainfall rolled over the region in twenty minutes.