NEWS
09/21/2015 16:06 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Weekend storm triggers floods and landslides, strands campers

Heavy weekend rains, flooding and landslides have emergency responders attending to multiple locations in the Squamish and Pemberton areas.

Ryan Wainwright, Emergency Program Manager for the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, is asking those still affected by the storm to be patient.

"Understand that recovery takes a lot longer than the disaster itself," he said.

Twenty-four people have been stranded  in the back country in the upper Squamish Valley, and another 20 are stuck near Pemberton due to the washout of the Lillooet Forest Service Road.

Five homes in the Birken Portage Road area remain evacuated because of a slow moving landslide that started yesterday afternoon and lasted 14 hours.

The slide has also cut access and power to the communities of N'Quatqua, D'Arcy and Devine, affecting over 200 people.

"We're communicating with them through a combinations of radios, satellite phones and couple of old rotary phones that are still working," said Wainwright.

The province is coordinating helicopter teams with Search and Rescue  to airlift out those stranded in the back country.

The Squamish and Pemberton areas were deluged with 150 millimetres of rain over three days, with rainfall rates peaking at eight millimetres an hour.

Wainwright says it's possible the long, dry summer was a factor.

"We do know after a long period of hot, dry weather, soil becomes hydrophobic, which means it doesn't absorb water the way it normally would," Wainwright told CBC.

"We're speculating that may have had something to do with the high level of runoff we saw after the rain, potentially triggering these landslides.