The owner of a business at the centre of a flash storm that struck east city centre and Valleyview estimated damage to parts, equipment and the building itself will range between $600,000 and $700,000.
The cleanup from Thursday's intense storm started soon after it struck mid-afternoon. At the centre was James Western Star Sterling Ltd. on Falcon Road, a low point where water funneled within minutes to create a torrent that flowed through the shop, paint booth, parts department and offices.
"We're just trying to figure out how to move forward," said Rob James, who owns the business and the building that was swamped by close to a metre of water in spots.
James received word earlier in the day his losses would be covered by insurance — a major relief. A restoration crew joined employees in clean-up efforts early in the day.
Despite extensive damage, the business expects to reopen today.
Environment Canada estimated 10 to 20 millimetres of rain fell in a short period. But that is measured at Kamloops Airport, which received only a fraction of the rain compared to Valleyview.
Chris Jackson, utilities services operations manager for the City, said the heart of the storm fell on the east side of downtown and into Valleyview. Compounding the problem was parking lot debris that washed into storm drains in those areas, partially covering them.
The City invested $300,000 in 2000 on pumps and other infrastructure in an attempt to fix flooding that frequented the area.
But Jackson said the works were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of rain and hail that came down.
"James Western Star is in a low spot. It's flooded a few times in the past due to these horrendous downpours . . . . Unfortunately we just couldn't move water away from that area fast enough."
Crews were dispatched immediately to the Tenth Avenue underpass, which flooded and then drained, as well as to Valleview.
Jackson said the storm drain from the underpass was also slowed because the drain in the South Thompson River is still underwater, stemming from this year's late freshet peak.
Several basements were flooded on Glenwood Drive. Rains also hit an apartment complex on the same street.
A representative at Thompson Valley Disaster Kleenup said the company was still receiving calls 24 hours later asking them to fix water damage to residences.
James estimated about $300,000 worth of parts were destroyed. Besides cleaning up the building itself — there was gravel in James's office Friday — employees are combing through parts to determine which require replacement.
His goal is to have inventory back up to standard levels by midweek.
James also said it's likely parts of the building will need to be rebuilt, necessitating temporary office trailers while construction occurs.
Both James and parts manager Curtis Allen said flooding is the worst ever, far worse than in a similar storm about a decade ago.
"It was a torrential river through the whole building," James said, noting what he estimated was a one-metre gusher shooting from a drain in the shop's paint booth area.