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Heavy rains, floods and landslides affected the Northwestern United States and Canada this week, leaving one death in each country, thousands of displaced and the search bodies on the verge of saturation in what they described as a storm “that happens every 500 years.” Several states in the two nations were forced to declare states of emergency due to the large amounts of water that fell in the region.
In British Columbia, the rain engulfed roads, train tracks and even bridges, leaving an estimated 18,000 people cut off by land, according to The Guardian. The media also indicated that until this Friday the authorities were carrying out search and rescue work.
The “500-year storm” that wreaked havoc in the United States and Canada refers to how likely a storm of this caliber is to occur in any given year. In this case, the probability was 1 in 500, that is, 0.2% of the occurrence.
The phenomenon caused by the atmospheric river had special consequences in Hope, north of Washington, when this week up to 1 foot of water fell as a result of the rains, flooding streets and causing landslides in the region. Up to 8 inches of rain was recorded in various parts of British Columbia, including Vancouver.
240 kilometers northeast of Vancouver in Lillooet, there was a landslide that buried seven vehicles and killed a woman on Tuesday, according to the Canadian Mounted Police. Even, the rescuers of the place indicated that the mud reached their waists, an unprecedented event for the police force.
British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan told Reuters they “expected more deaths” with the passing of the days due to the severe rains and the numerous landslides that hit the region. Likewise, it decreed a state of emergency to face the disasters of the atmospheric river.
Vancouver and the surrounding area suffered severe damage this week. The two most important railroad companies in Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and Canadian National Railway Co. announced that the tracks to the third largest city in that country are completely impassable, but they are working to restore the service as soon as possible.
“Our goal is to clean, repair and reopen roads to connect the interior and the north with the lower part of the mainland and Vancouver Island., to keep our supply chains moving, ”Rob Fleming, British Columbia’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, told AccuWeather.
In the United States, Bellinham and Forks, in Washington, rains affected thousands and also caused flooding, killing one person. Rescue bodies were also collapsed by high water levels in the region, where there was a dramatic rescue of 10 people by helicopter on the roof of a house.
Jay Inslee, governor of Washington, did the same as his Canadian counterpart and also decreed a state of emergency due to the rains in 14 counties of the state.
Despite the fact that meteorological systems predict that no more precipitation will occur in the next few days, it will only be a moment of calm, as experts indicate that another storm could form in the middle of next week, albeit milder, that will leave several inches of rain and snow in the highest sectors.
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