Tiffany from Leeuw says her in-laws realized the gravity of the disaster facing their farm in Sumas Prairie when a field was flooded within 30 minutes.
She said her stepfather and stepbrother quickly left with cattle trailers on the first day of the flooding to save boarding animals on the property while other relatives worked to build dikes to protect their third generation farm.
But de Leeuw said his stepfather admitted defeat when trying to save the farm via text message shortly after.
“We cut hydroelectricity. We lost, ”she said, he wrote in the text.
The property is mainly used for the storage of feed, cultivation and rearing of livestock, others renting a part to run their own business.
“It was devastating watching my family lose their homes and their livelihoods and stay in shock like ‘What just hit us?’” De Leeuw said on Tuesday. “The past week has been just awful.”
She is also dealing with her own sense of loss. His hair salon on the property is submerged in nearly two meters of water.
“For me alone to see my living room in which I have devoted all my time and effort over the past five years destroyed is heartbreaking,” she said in an interview. “This is my safe place, this is my creative outlet, this is where I go to take a break from life and lose myself in the art that I love.”
The farm is one of hundreds damaged or destroyed by flooding last week in the lower Sumas Prairie region of Abbotsford. The region is home to a large portion of British Columbia’s agricultural production.
It was one of the hardest-hit areas of the province by storms that dumped unprecedented amounts of rain, triggering evacuations and mudslides that cut highways.
British Columbia Agriculture Minister Lana Popham flew over the area on Tuesday, seeing the damage for the first time.
“I was shocked. I know the area pretty well, so I can see some of the farms that just have exposed roofs. I know these farms, I’ve been on these farms, I’ve been in these barns. is shocking and it is so devastating, ”she said.
There is no timetable for when all the farmers can return or when full production can restart, she said.
Popham said blueberry farmers told him all their crops had been destroyed and they had to wait until the contaminated soil was cleaned up before they could replant.
De Leeuw said his family expects full access to their property over the next few weeks, as long as water levels continue to decline.
“We don’t know if we can partially rebuild or raze the buildings and start from scratch,” she said.
But more rain is expected for the region over the next few days.
Environment Canada has issued special weather reports for much of the southern interior coast of British Columbia, including the Fraser Valley, which was damaged by flooding. He said a new storm is expected to hit the region on Wednesday evening, dropping 40 to 80 millimeters of rain, before easing on Friday.
He said the storm “will be shorter in duration and less intense” than the one that hit the province from November 13 to 15. “However, it will still bring moderate to heavy rains and strong winds.”
A second so-called atmospheric river is also expected to flood the south coast on Saturday, the meteorological office said, with total accumulations from both storms likely to exceed 100 millimeters.
—Nick Wells, The Canadian Press