A flash thunderstorm Thursday afternoon — similar a torrential rain event a year ago on the same day — caused localized flooding, with ground zero in Valleyview.
“It was like a scene from a movie,” said Chris Dodds, an employee with James Western Star in Valleyview.
“Water was flowing through the doors… . It took five minutes to fill up to our knees. The whole shop is flooded. It’s crazy.”
Environment Canada estimated between 10 and 20 millimeters of precipitation fell, measured at Kamloops airport mid-afternoon.
City public works crews and Kamloops Fire and Rescue crews were dispatched to the hardest hit spots.
Firefighters searched for a blocked storm sewer drain outside an apartment complex on Glenwood Drive in Valleyview. A common room was flooded on the north side of Glenwood Gardens and residents were sweeping water away to keep it outside their homes.
“I’m supposed to park my truck where they are,” said Steven Campbell, as he watched firefighters pushing through calf-high water collected in a low spot in front of the apartment complex.
“We’re just one of many places.”
Within hours the sun reappeared and pools that collected in low areas disappeared with it.
A flash thunderstorm happened on the same day last year. And, like last year, the Tenth Avenue underpass flooded with at least a metre of water. Public works crews were able to clear it within an hour.
The lake of water in front of James Western Star, which typically gets hit in similar rain events, saw cars pushing a wave of water on the road in front of them. The water was between knee-and hip-deep in places t the shop.
Environment Canada meteorologist Louis Kohanyi said lightning accompanied the storm. There were also reports of a small grass fire and a commercial building on the South Shore struck by lightning.
“We had a report of a half-inch of hail in Kamloops as well,” he said.
The same weather system could bring more thundershowers Friday.
Rock and tree debris could be seen on many roads in Valleyview and Juniper, where sand and gravel covered parts of Highland Drive.
Valleyview resident Kristel Kulinski was busy mopping and sweeping out her basement on Glenwood Drive. She said water suddenly emerged when the rains started.
“Everything comes here. It’s the low area,” she said.
Kulinski said she was using “every blanket and towel in the house” until saturated. Then she placed them in the washer on spin cycle and repeated efforts to mop up the mess.