The small B.C. Interior town of Cache Creek declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon after torrential rain caused a flash flood on Saturday which sent raging water and debris through downtown streets and closed two highways.
The flood destroyed two mobile homes, severely damaged about a dozen others and left the town covered in mud.
'It was raining like the sky was falling.' - Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta
Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta said the state of emergency will free up financial support to help the town rebuild. He said nearly 100 residents in the community of about 1,000 have registered at the emergency operations centre.
Ranta said the declaration would allow the municipality to enforce an emergency evacuation order he expects will affect about 14 homes in the Riverside Trailer Park until the stability of the slopes above them can be assessed.
He said about 49 homes were damaged in the flash flood, a half dozen of them beyond repair. Ranta said no one in town can remember a storm like this one.
"It was raining like the sky was falling and hail at the same time and it caused Cache Creek to fill up and overflow and it carried debris from the creek that plugged the culvert near the fire hall," he said.
"Then the water from the creek went over the road and against the doors of the fire hall, caved in the fire hall doors and then went out the back door of the fire hall."
"It is just incredible the amount of debris that comes down with a rainstorm of the intensity of what we saw."
Ranta said storm sewers and catch basins are plugged and the town is busy cleaning them out.
On Sunday Premier Christy Clark tweeted a message of support:
My thoughts are with all those affected by #CacheCreek flooding, and thanks to those responding to assist.— @christyclarkbc
Took town by surprise
Environment Canada issued a weather alert for a severe thunderstorm warning early Saturday as the storm moved northwest from Merritt, B.C.
By suppertime, people in Cache Creek were posting storm updates on social media.
Kamloops Search and Rescue (SAR) was called to assist RCMP in Cache Creek, after reports that flooding from the Bonaparte River had swept away one or two mobile homes and a vehicle.
Kamloops SAR's Alan Hobler said a seven-member swift water team was flying to Cache Creek by helicopter with RCMP just after 6 p.m. PT.
Hobler added that ten more volunteers were driving from Kamloops to make sure nobody was swept into the river.
Cache Creek resident Marcie Down posted a video on social media showing the impact of the flooding on her home.
"This is, well — was — my yard," Down said in the video.
"You can see the drains can't keep up and they're bubbling. There's trees, particles of roots coming down the road. There is a creek running through our yard and the neighbour's yard, lots of dirt going all the way down."
"This is the creek that's running into our garage. Thankfully it's not into our basement yet," said Down.
"You see the hail that hit here? Some of it was the size of marbles, just crazy."