The third atmospheric river to hit British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest has refilled a lake drained a century ago and put much of Vancouver’s milk and egg supply out of commission in the process. Now the Sumas Prairie, Sumas Lake was drained in 1924 to create farmland, but extreme rainfall over the past weeks and days has made it a lake again, submerging the farmland that produces more than half of Vancouver’s dairy and eggs. The extreme rain melted the snowpack in areas that rarely see liquid precipitation, some of which lack erosion protection due to massive wildfires this past summer. This exacerbated flooding at lower elevations, completely cutting off numerous towns.
“Merritt is a town of 7,000 people and is totally flooded,” Johnson Zhong, a meteorologist for Environment Canada, told CNN. “That town is in an area that doesn’t get a lot of rain. But with the combination of rain and snowmelt, the entire town flooded. The water and sewage system went down, and the entire town had to be evacuated.” The rain and flooding have also forced British Columbia to extend emergency fuel rationing into mid-December. (CNN, Washington Post $; Rain totals: Earther; Fuel rationing: Bloomberg $; Climate signals background: Flooding, Extreme precipitation increase, Wildfires)