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By Aya Elamroussi, Amy Simonson and Paul P. Murphy, CNN
There are significant delays for railways and trucks using the Canadian port city of Vancouver after severe and widespread flooding slammed the Pacific Northwest, officials said Wednesday — and the impact could be felt for days.
Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo, according to the port authority.
“The Vancouver gateway is experiencing significantly disrupted rail and truck movement due to widespread flooding throughout the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions,” Matti Polychronis, a spokesperson for Port of Vancouver, told CNN in an email. He added that port marine terminals are still operating.
British Columbia and neighboring Washington state were inundated with so much rain and wind Monday that people were ordered to evacuate their homes, and dozens needed to be rescued.
Nearly 300 people were trapped by mudslides on British Columbia roadways, Jonathan Gormick with Canada Task Force 1 said. There were three incidents in which cars were trapped between debris flows where hundreds of people were trapped, Emergency Management British Columbia communications director Jordan Turner said. They were all eventually rescued, he said.
And as officials attempt to examine the extent of the damage, they are facing challenges. Evacuation orders in various communities have hindered efforts to assess the damage to major railways, the Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Polychronis said.
“CN and CP main rail corridors are not currently operational between Vancouver and Kamloops due to washouts and landslides,” Polychronis said. “Both CN and CP crews are clearing debris and conducting repairs at multiple sites with progress being made in restoring some impacted rail sections.
“Flooding impacts on highways remain severe and widespread throughout southwestern B.C. All main highway routes to the Metro Vancouver area are closed.”
It may take up to three days for traffic to resume, he said.
Some additional localized flooding may impact recovery efforts Thursday, according to CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford, who said Friday may bring some relief.
The Pacific Northwest region could see between 2 and 4 inches of rain on Thursday, he said.
“I actually do think there could be some impacts to relief and recovery impacts for the worst-hit tomorrow, but by Friday it should be good. There is a slight chance of localized flooding with rounds of moisture like this,” Shackelford said.
Canadian police said a woman had died after a mudslide Monday near Lillooet, which is located to the north of Vancouver.
And in Washington state, crews discovered Wednesday the body of Jose Garcia, a 59-year-old man who was washed away early on Monday by flood waters on his way to work in Everson while calling his family for help, authorities said.
His son notified authorities of his father’s plea for help and told police that his father said he was “clinging to bushes or trees in the field.”
“He told his family he tried to get out of the vehicle and was swept away by the current north into the field,” Everson Police Chief Daniel MacPhee said in a news release.
The nearby town of Sumas, Washington, saw about 75% of its homes sustain damage by floodwaters, officials said.
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CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.