Severe rain and hail brought flooding to Maple Ridge streets on Friday evening, and there were numerous flooded buildings across the city.
The road leading Anita Tent City in downtown Maple Ridge, 223rd Street, looked like a river minutes after the storm cell hit, around 4 p.m. A video shows people struggling to walk through the rushing water.
Environment Canada issued a severe weather warning for Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley earlier in the day.
A thunderstorm hit the Lower Mainland, snarling rush-hour traffic and rain and hail flooded Maple Ridge streets.
Valley Fair Mall closed on Friday night as the floors flooded, and Saturday morning management was assessing the damage.
Manager Nicole Archer described the weather and its impact.
“There was tremendous hail, and the hail filled up all the catch basins. When the torrential rain came it filled it up, and started the flooding. It eventually got high enough that it was leaking into the entrances.
“So we ended up with quite a flood inside the whole common area of the shopping centre.”
All of the stores were able to open on Saturday, but the mall was evacuated on Friday so the water could be cleared.
“My crew did an amazing job,” said Archer. “We’re ready and open for business this morning – we worked to the wee hours.”
She said a restoration crew was at work, and that was a scene played out across the city.
Haney Landing, an apartment building right across the Bypass road from Anita Place, had the parking lot flood, spill into lobbies of both buildings, and then floor multiple ground-floor apartment units.
At nearby Maple Ridge Treatment Centre the auditorium roof was leaking so badly that staff with garbage cans could not catch the water fast enough.
Maple Ridge fire chief Howard Exner noted that areas like 225th Street and River Road were under several feet of water, and the fire department had reports of apartment lobby doors holding back two feet of water.
He said the freak weather event covered an area of eight to 10 blocks on either side of 224th Street, and the fire department received calls from approximately 20 residents whose homes were flooded.
“We were hammered by calls,” he said, noting there were also alarms and about 40 calls for service in total.
“There’s damage all over the city,” said Exner. “There’s going to be lots of insurance claims, for sure.”
He noted the storm drain system was overwhelmed by the amount of runoff, and the swelling water lifted the lids off the storm sewers.
Exner noted the city had a crew working until 3 a.m. “taking care of business,” in reaction to storm damage.
The water even flooded into Firehall 1, he noted, leaving some puddles in the the bays.
Many roads were also flooded, submerging vehicles up to their wheel wheels.