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B.C. floods: Drier, colder weather helping floodwaters recede and repairs to roads continue

Click to play video: 'More stability on B.C. highways as floodwaters continue to recede' More stability on B.C. highways as floodwaters continue to recede
Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said Friday that as the weather remains drier the highways can stabilize and work on repairs can continue. He said goods are continuing to move well around the province, despite some major highways that remain shut down – Dec 3, 2021

Despite some areas of the province receiving snow or wet snow this weekend and into next week, B.C. government officials said Friday the drier and more seasonal weather is having a positive effect on the flooding situation.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said there are currently no flood watches or warning in effect leading to more stability on the highways network.

“It’s been a collective effort by our people but we can’t let up, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Fleming said.

The supply chain of goods around B.C. continues to be an issue but it is moving, he added.

Using Highway 3 and other detours through Washington state, Fleming said 10,000 trucks have now moved goods around the province.

Canadian Pacific Rail is also moving freight, and planes have increased cargo flights, he added.

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Canadian National Rail is also working to open a line this weekend.

“We still have a long way to go to get our supply chains back to where we need them,” Fleming added.

“But progress has been remarkable and inspiring.”

Click to play video: 'Abbotsford, B.C. residents clean up as flood waters recede after 3 storms' Abbotsford, B.C. residents clean up as flood waters recede after 3 storms
Abbotsford, B.C. residents clean up as flood waters recede after 3 storms – Dec 2, 2021

Read more: Highways in B.C. starting to reopen but free-flowing traffic still months away, says minister

The major highways that remain shut down – Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon, Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge, and Highway 5 between Merritt and Hope – will still be closed for a while to come, Fleming said.

There is intensive work being done on the infrastructure that remains usable, he added, and there is lots of rock blasting but many sites are still in the planning stage of rebuilding.

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“It will be very expensive and it will be very substantial,” Fleming said.

There is 130 kilometres on the Coquihalla alone that needs repairs, he added.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said at a media briefing Thursday the drier weather will be critical for the removal of carcasses of animals who died in the flooding.

“We know at this point there are 628,000 poultry reported dead, 420 dairy cattle deceased and approximately 12,000 hogs,” she said.

“And also of note, there (are) 110 beehives that have been submerged.”

It is not yet known how many bees could have died in the flooding.

There was some brighter news Friday that only two per cent of the annual turkey production has been lost in the province and 98 per cent of the cows in the Sumas Prairie region survived the flooding.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: How to support Fraser Valley farmers impacted by flooding' B.C. floods: How to support Fraser Valley farmers impacted by flooding
B.C. floods: How to support Fraser Valley farmers impacted by flooding – Dec 2, 2021

Read more: B.C. floods — Thousands of pigs, cows, chickens and likely bees died in Fraser Valley

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Meanwhile, a mudslide has badly damaged one home in Mission and knocked out access to several others.

The landslide thundered down on a rural road in the Silverdale neighbourhood on the north side of Hope.

Luckily no one was home at the time but the one house was so badly damaged it is no longer habitable.

Three other homes were not damaged but the slide mangled the road leading to them and cut out the hydro lines.

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