- The discovery brings the death toll to four.
- The slide was one of several amid heavy rain and high winds across southwestern B.C.
- There’s no timeline for when major highways will be fully repaired.
Three more bodies were pulled from the debris of a landslide that covered a highway in southern British Columbia as torrential rainfall and catastrophic flooding hit the region earlier this week.
That brought the death toll to at least four in the slide on Highway 99 south of the town of Lillooet, according to a news release Saturday from the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
One victim had previously been found in the debris and one remained missing.
Rain and wind brought recovery efforts to a standstill Friday.
“We have been continuing the search for one more man, however search efforts have been hampered by weather and site conditions,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said in the release. “Our thoughts continue to be with all of those who have been impacted in this terrible tragedy.”
(MORE: Death and Desperation in British Columbia After Flooding)
The slide was one of several that wiped out parts of at least half a dozen major highways in southern British Columbia after heavy rainfall from last Sunday into Tuesday morning that also flooded parts of northwestern Washington state.
While some of the highways have partially reopened or are expected to soon, there’s no timeline on when full repairs will be completed.
Officials in British Columbia declared a state of emergency and on Friday prohibited nonessential travel in some areas and asked drivers to limit gas purchases to about 8 gallons per vehicle.
“These steps will keep commercial traffic moving, stabilize our supply chains and make sure everyone gets home safely,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said in a news conference, according to The Associated Press. “We are asking people not to travel through severely affected areas, for their own well-being, but also to make sure the fuel we do have goes toward the services people need in this time of crisis.”
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The disaster in B.C. is one of historic levels.
Flood damage is estimated at $1 billion in the town of Abbotsford alone, where about 160,000 people live.
More than 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes in B.C., including nearly all of the 7,000 residents of the town of Merritt.
More than 1,200 people were stuck for at least one night, some for longer, in the town of Hope after landslides cut off the highway they were traveling on. Local residents helped set up food and shelter, and even took them into their homes.
Thousands of animals and livestock are dead, despite desperate measures to save them using boats and jet skis.
The weather was caused by a type of weather pattern called an atmospheric river, packing heavy rain and high winds.
The same storm system also fueled at least one wildfire as it moved east across the Rockies and Central Plains.
Thepany’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.