It’s been a stressful year for homeowners and residents in the Interior of British Columbia. I’d know, because I am one.
First, there was the particularly destructive ‘fire season’ (a period of a few months that seems to have replaced what was once known as “summer”), during which we breathed smoke and sweated falling embers every time we stepped outside.
Ultimately, the two modest downtown houses in Merritt and Kamloops that my partner and I own were spared during the fires, as were most of our friends’ and neighbours’. Thank God, Satan, Trudeau, or whoever you hold responsible for that.
But after the recent ‘atmospheric river’ streaking across the province’s skies, those familiar feelings of dread and worry are back. Southern B.C. saw record-breaking rainfall this week, resulting in landslides that completely washed away sections of multiple major highways, caused the evacuation of an entire city, and displaced thousands of residents and travellers.
Personally, I’ve been trapped in Vancouver, some 400 km away from our home in Kamloops since the water started really falling two days ago. Currently, the only available route to the Interior is a 12-hour detour through the U.S., and I don’t have my passport.
Merritt, where I grew up and currently own an investment property, was ordered to evacuate entirely on Monday morning as the water from the two local rivers surged and streets turned into ponds. The wastewater plant was submerged and failed, leaving those holed up despite evacuation orders without access to clean drinking water. My old high school was converted to a fish tank—luckily the graduating class of 2021 is already familiar with the concept of remote learning.
As the intense weather subsides and displaced people like us continue their holding and fretting patterns, the extent of the damage is starting to surface online via photos and videos. Here are some of the most unbelievable shots to come out of this disaster so far.
Vancouver Airport Flood
As highways crumbled, Vancouver International Airport was experiencing weather-caused “facilities constraints” of its own. This short video shared to Reddit shows a YVR runway that looks like it’s been converted for floatplanes.