Environment Canada estimates the north Okanagan city of Kamloops was hit with about 25 mm of rain in about 20 minutes, flooding streets with muddy rivers of water, catching many people by surprise.
Mora Scott of BC Hydro says that in all, 7,800 customers across the Southern Interior were still without power early Thursday morning.
"Crews are working to repair our equipment including downed lines and trees on wires. I want to remind customers if they do come across a downed line to call 911 and stay back at least 10 metres. We are working to get customers back on by 4 p.m."
Waters rose quickly
At the height of the storm around 2 p.m. PT Wednesday, resident Jeff Schenderling decided to turn his own car around after watching a man abandon his car under an overpass because of quickly rising water.
"In matter of like a minute or two, it just started coming down so quick, and as we saw him jump out of his vehicle, we decided we needed to get going and quickly make that U-turn," said Schenderling.
Fire department Deputy Chief Mike Adams says crews were quickly overwhelmed, including a call to pull a boy out of the Thompson River. The boy was safely rescued, but crews still had their hands full, said Adams.
"Numerous power lines down, a couple of lightning strikes, one resulting in a tree into a building — so you name it, we were having it, and our crews were working really hard to make sure we could get out there and help the people," said Adams.
Chad Graham, from a local car dealership, said he saw vehicles parked on the street that were floating in the water. He said the vehicles were damaged further by others that passed by.
Cleaning up the course
Sun Rivers Golf Course in Kamloops was closed Thursday after the hillside location was hit hard by the deluge of rain and run-off from the hills above. Nancy Kallio says staff were working to get the course cleaned up and reopened as soon as possible.
"We did have water running down the streets. The golf course at this point is day to day. The golf course crew have to get out. I'm sure there are spots that some debris and water on them at this point."
City of Kamloops manager Mike Firlotte says crews are investigating the scope of the damage. He says there was a similar flash flood two years ago, but the flooding was more widespread this time.
Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says it was known the storm was coming, but the question was where it was going to land.
"It had been so hot here, and then we had this very cool air from the Pacific that was going to move over the Interior very fast, and to top it all off, coming at the right time of day, and the flow was also southerly, which particularly for Kamloops is a bad direction for thunderstorms to come from," said Lundquist.
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