An atmospheric river — which is, essentially, a river in the sky — brought days of rainfall, high winds, flooding and mudslides to western Canada and Washington state.
More than 158,000 customers faced a power outage in western Washington on Monday afternoon, according to KTLA5. About 50,000 are still facing an outage, according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks outages nationwide.
Residents were forced to evacuate as floodwaters swamped business districts and submerged cars.
EXTREME FLOODING— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) November 16, 2021
Folks in Bellingham, Washington are experiencing flooding after heavy rain swelled local streams.
Multiple rivers are at moderate to major flood stage.
We have details on more rain coming up this hour on WeatherNation. pic.twitter.com/opys491aGt
The weather event caused road closures. Footage from the area shows many stranded travelers who are surrounded by the remains of a landslide that blocked access to the highway.
“I had to eventually turn around and go home due to closed roads,” tweeted Bill Maxwell.
I had to eventually turn around and go home due to closed roads. Still pouring rain and flooding up here in Northwest Washington. pic.twitter.com/qm1EEZZKyb— Bill Maxwell (@Bill_Maxwell_) November 15, 2021
One person was swept away by floodwaters and had been last seen holding on to a tree, Everson police said via Facebook.
This severe weather event led the Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to issue an emergency proclamation which stated that the forecast will last several days.
The proclamation also stated that the weather pattern was caused by saturated soils, which, when combined with rainfall can cause flooding conditions in multiple rivers.
In British Columbia, many faced the same problem, and with no way out, people were rescued by emergency helicopters, as seen in videos.
This video from the scene of people being rescued off #BCHwy7 is so powerful.— Alanna Kelly (@AlannaKellyNews) November 15, 2021
People are relieved to be safely on the other side of these two mudslides and on solid ground.
“Oh it’s amazing,” says Bennett. “They’ve got food and blankets for us, and real bathrooms!” pic.twitter.com/ylrStiMoHq
“As of Monday afternoon, many people have been airlifted from mudslides near Agassiz and Lilllooet and been relocated to safe locations,” the B.C. government tweeted.
About 275 residents who live east of Vancouver were stuck between two slides. They were rescued on Monday, according to CBC news.
The impact of the flooding — damaged infrastructure, and extended power-outages — were widespread and consequential.