At least one person has died in torrential rains that forced thousands in western Canada to evacuate their homes and trapped motorists in mudslides, federal police said Tuesday.
Search and rescue teams recovered the body of a woman from a mudslide near Lillooet, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Vancouver, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet added that investigators have received two missing person reports, but that they believe “there may have been other occupied vehicles that were lost in the slide.”
“The total number of people and vehicles unaccounted for has not been confirmed,” she said.
Mudslides, rocks and debris washed out several highways leading to Vancouver, trapping hundreds of motorists who were rescued by military helicopters by nightfall on Monday.
Local television showed video footage of the Trans Canada highway connecting the coastal city to the rest of the country inundated. A bridge was also washed out.
Other routes have also been closed, according to Drive BC, which said on Twitter: “Highways are closed until further notice.”
Environment Canada said up to 250 millimetres (almost 10 inches) of rain — what the region normally gets in a month — fell Sunday and Monday in and around Vancouver, which was also hit last week by a rare tornado.
The extreme weather comes after British Columbia suffered record-high temperatures over the summer that killed more than 500 people, as well as wildfires that destroyed a town.