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One Dead, Thousands Without Power After Floods And Landslides In U.S. Northwest, Canada

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Topline

At least one person was killed in western Canada after floods and landslides were triggered by torrential rain in the region, forcing the closure of the country’s largest port in the city of Vancouver while also impacting parts of the U.S. Northwest.

Key Facts

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed the death of at least one woman after a landslide blocked a major highway in the province of British Columbia, CBC News reported.

Nearly 300 people trapped by the landslides were rescued by helicopters in British Columbia earlier.

Torrential rains have also forced the closure of two major rail routes in the province operated by  Canadian Pacific Rail and Canadian National Railway.

According to the Associated Press, the floods also managed to cause major devastation across the border in the U.S. northwest region with several people being forced to evacuate their homes.

Hundreds of people were evacuated as water damage affected nearly 75% of homes in the small town of Sumas in Washington State, local officials said.

Big Number

$440 million. That’s the total value of cargo that the Vancouver port moves every day including automobiles, grain, coal, and other essential goods, according to Reuters.

Tangent

The torrential rains and flooding damaged power lines across the western part of Washington state. According to the tracker PowerOutage.us more than 18,500 homes remained without power in Washington as of early Wednesday. More than 158,000 households in western Washington faced power outages at the height of the storm on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Key Background

The devastating rains were caused by a so-called atmospheric river—a large plume of moisture—that extended over the Pacific Northwest region. British Columbia and the US northwest have been hit with several extreme weather events this year that experts have attributed to climate change. Earlier this year the region witness devastating wildfires that gutted an entire town in British Columbia and record-breaking high temperatures as a heat dome formed over the region. This week’s event is also the second major instance of flooding in the region in less than two years.

Further Reading

1 confirmed dead as rescue teams continue searching debris from B.C. mudslide (CBC News)

US Northwest, Canada devastated by flood, 1 death reported (Associated Press)