Historic flooding in southern B.C., by the numbers

·4 min read
Flood waters cover Highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 16. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Flood waters cover Highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 16. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)

In a matter of days, torrential rains have swamped rivers and farmland across southern B.C. and triggered mudslides that blocked every major highway connecting the Lower Mainland to the rest of the country.

Nearly 20,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes and thousands of animals have died. Dozens of volunteers have stepped up to help their communities however they can.

The scale of the storm and the flooding, and their effects across the south of the province, have been difficult to grasp.

Here's a breakdown of what has happened, by the numbers.

The storm

— 20: Rainfall records set Sunday as the storm rolled through southern B.C.

24: Communities across the province that received more than 100 millimetres of rain in 48 hours, between 11 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Monday.

— 252 millimetres: Rainfall measured in Hope, B.C., in 48 hours.

— 344 millimetres: Average rainfall for the entire month of November in Hope.

— 125 years: How long the old 24-hour rainfall record in Agassiz was in place before it was broken Sunday, with just over 127 millimetres.

— 3.1 metres: Estimated height of the surging Coldwater River in Merritt.

— 219,000: Homes that lost power at one point between Sunday and Monday.

WATCH | An aerial view of some of the flood damage:

The people and animals affected

17,775: People evacuated from their homes as of noon Wednesday as a result of the floods.

— 7,000: Estimated number of people evacuated from Merritt, B.C., alone on Monday, due to the rising Coldwater River.

— 7: The minimum time in days before the people of Merritt will be able to go home, according to the city.

— 295: Homes ordered evacuated in Princeton after the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers overflowed.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

— Somewhere in the thousands: Animals and livestock that have died as a result of the flooding, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, with "many more" still trapped.

184: People rescued from the Sumas Prairie area of Abbotsford on Tuesday night as the city feared a critical pump house would stop working.

300: People who were still trapped on the prairie by Wednesday morning.

Artur Gajda/Reuters
Artur Gajda/Reuters

275: People, including 50 children, who were rescued after being trapped between two landslides on Highway 7.

— 1,100: People who have been stranded in Hope for days, since all highways out of the town were blocked by mudslides.

1: People killed as a result of the slide on Highway 99, south of Lillooet.

— 2: Ongoing searches for people who might still be missing after mudslides on Highway 99 and Highway 7.

— 54: Number of evacuation orders and alerts in place across B.C. due to floods or landslides as of noon Wednesday.

Jesse Winter/Reuters
Jesse Winter/Reuters

The people helping

150: Volunteers who worked through the night to build a sandbag dam around the threatened Barrowtown Pump Station in Abbotsford, the failure of which would have been "catastrophic" for the already inundated Sumas Prairie.

— 40,000: Sandbags delivered by Emil Anderson Maintenance on Tuesday night to protect the Barrowtown Pump Station.

— 1: Small flotilla of farmers using motorboats, hovercraft, canoes, dinghies and jet-skis to pull dozens of trapped cows from frigid waters to safety in Abbotsford.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

— 3,000: Meals volunteers with Khalsa Aid are aiming to send by helicopter to the people stuck in Hope.

— 20: Evacuation centres open across the province for thousands of evacuees who had to abandon their homes.

The damage

— Hundreds: Farms affected by flooding, including some entirely underwater.

— 24: Estimated closures on B.C. highways at one point due to rock or mudslides and flooding.

— 6: Major highways that remain closed because of flooding, landslides or collapsed bridges.

— 1: Wastewater plant in Merritt that won't be running for an "indefinite period of time" after failing on Monday.

— 1: Animal Health Centre ruined in Abbotsford, a major veterinary lab which tests for pests and disease in B.C.'s animal population now closed by the flooding

— 2: Major Canadian railways disrupted by mudslides. CN Rail has seen mudslides and washouts near Yale, while CP Rail has had a track outage north of Hope.

— 100: RVs believed to be burning after a fire broke out at a dealership in Abbotsford on Wednesday, sending clouds of black smoke above the floodplain.

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