Updated Story 10:30 AM
The City of Merritt has declared a state of emergency and has asked all 10-thousand of its residents to leave the community immediately.
Original Story 10:17 AM
An extreme weather event resulting in flooding and mudslides is causing havoc for smaller communities like Merritt.
That’s according to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth who stated the entire community may need to be evacuated as the sewage facility is closed leaving residents with no access to running water until further notice.
Paula Cousins, the Interior region representative of the Ministry of Transportation says the Coquihalla Highway has been rain-soaked.
“The corridor has received approximately 200 millimetres of rain and continues to experience heavy precipitation. Our experts are going to fly the corridor as soon as we are able to get up there but we have early reports there is damage along the corridor.”
About 2-thousand Merritt residents have already been evacuated.
Provincial supports are being set up in Kamloops and Kelowna according to Farnworth.
In addition, between 80 and 100 vehicles became trapped along Highway 7 near Aggasiz.
“We do have three different stretches of our highways in the Lower Mainland – highway 7, 5, and highway 3 where we do have some individuals that are trapped between two slides. Those folks are safe and we are in contact with them,” said Janelle Staite, South Coast region representative, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Furthermore, Highway 3 at Princeton is closed due to seven to ten inches of water falling on the road.
Road closures are also being reported along Vancouver Island including the Malahat as well as Highway 1 in the Duncan area.
Drivers are being reminded if they do need to venture out on Interior roadways, to have a full tank of gas, food, and water, blankets, and fully charged cell phones.