ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – Searchers found three bodies washed away by landslides in British Columbia, officials said Saturday after record rainfall that paralyzed parts of the province and led to food and fuel shortages.
Canada’s westernmost province declared a state of emergency after a phenomenon known as “atmospheric flow” brought a month of rain in two days. Residents across the border in Washington state experienced similar conditions.
The rain washed away roads and railways, cutting off Vancouver and the lower mainland region from the rest of the country, and completely blocking access to some cities.
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Another similar weather system is expected to hit northern British Columbia on Sunday, bringing loud heavy rains to the lower mainland Environment Canada.
The province on Friday imposed temporary restrictions on fuel and non-essential travel to ease it Disruptions in the supply chain and help with the rescue work.
Three other bodies were found, in addition to one found Monday, and efforts to reach a fifth person caught in a mudslide have been unsuccessful, the province’s chief medical examiner said Saturday.
“This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us in BC, and my heart goes out to the many families and communities who have suffered tragic losses,” Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.
The storms that began last Sunday forced the Trans Mountain Pipeline to close, disrupting two critical east-west railroad lines owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway Co, which lead to Canada’s busiest port, Vancouver.
CP said repair work on the damaged infrastructure would continue uninterrupted and service should be restored by the middle of next week.
Around 14,000 people are still under evacuation orders in several communities in the Pacific Province.