Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Home Covid-19 Merritt, B.C. residents forced to ‘run from a river’

Merritt, B.C. residents forced to ‘run from a river’

A Merritt resident who was placed on evacuation alert in the summer due to wildfires is now fleeing flooding from the atmospheric river hitting B.C.

Jared Thomas said the situation in Merritt is “scary” right now, and he’s just happy his family is safe.

His house is only a few hundred feet from the Coldwater River and the situation escalated very quickly overnight.

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Entire city of Merritt, B.C. forced to evacuate due to flooding

“About four in the morning, we heard sirens and megaphones. They were evacuating the Claybanks RV Park, which is right next to our property,” Thomas said.

That’s when his family decided they needed to get out of there too.

Video shared with Global News shows a river rising on Thomas’ deck — just one step away from flooding over their deck and into their home.

Thomas, his wife, their one-year-old son and dog are now in Kamloops.

“We’re just trying to stay as safe as we can,” he said.

Merritt, B.C. evacuee films eyewitness video of flooded streets

Merritt, B.C. evacuee films eyewitness video of flooded streets

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Flooding and mudslides in B.C. wreak havoc on highways, forcing evacuations

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Since Thomas and his family left, the entire city has been evacuated. Floodwaters have inundated two bridges across the Coldwater River, and are preventing access to the third, the city said Monday.

“Complete roads washed out and the current is strong. It’s fierce and scary for sure,” Thomas said.

Floodwaters have also rendered the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant inoperable for an indefinite period, the city said in a statement.

“Continued habitation of the community without sanitary service presents risk of mass sewage back-up and personal health risk.”

Thomas said his family still had their emergency bag packed from earlier this year due to the wildfires.

“It’s been hairy days in Merritt,” he said. “All those fires closing in during the middle of the summer, definitely had us on pins and needles. Now, this has come out of nowhere.

“Just yesterday we were playing in puddles at Central Park. Today we’re running from a river.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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