Flooding has forced the evacuation of the entire community of Merritt, B.C.
On Monday morning, the city announced an evacuation order had been issued.
Residents were being asked to stay with friends or family if possible, or to go to the Emergency Social Support reception centres in Kamloops and Kelowna.
“The flood waters have now inundated two bridges across the Coldwater River, and flood waters prevent access to the third,” the city said in a statement.
“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.”
The city had already evacuated one neighbourhood, Collettville, because the only road to escape the area could be cut off by flooding.
“Main Street and Voght Street bridges are inundated with water and should not be used for any purpose. Houston Street is threatened with water and therefore the only route into or out of Collettville is at risk,” the city said in a statement.
“If this road is lost then it will not be possible for anyone to get in or out of Collettville except by helicopter. As such, all residents must evacuate Collettville.”
“Flushing toilets or running a faucet at this time will result in it backing up into your home,” the city added.
Merritt resident Brodie McDonald said he received a knock on the door around 12:30 a.m. and only had a little time to pack as the water was rising quickly.
“I could have grabbed maybe a little more, but I was out driving the flooded streets with my diesel and picking other people up (who) had flooded cars and stuff like that, (who) couldn’t or didn’t feel safe to leave their home on their own,” he said.
There was not much residents could do as the water rose too quickly to put out sandbags, he added.
McDonald said he’s concerned the floodwaters could wash out the foundation of his house.
“Some of the road in front of my house is washed out. The pavement is actually ripped up and there is a truck falling into a sinkhole in the water.”
According to Environment Canada, 14 mm of precipitation fell in Merritt on Sunday, and periods of rain are expected throughout Monday.