Watch Vancouver in Canada. It’s now completely cut off from the rest of the country


For ‘preppers’ in particular, and for everybody in general, keep your eye on what happens in Vancouver, Canada over the next few days and weeks.  A major storm has blocked or destroyed literally every transportation route leading into the city – by road, rail and even (for the moment) by air.

There is currently no way to drive between Vancouver and the rest of Canada.

The Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley are now completely cut off from the rest of British Columbia and the country by road.

The southbound lanes of the Coquihalla Highway have been completely washed out near Othello Tunnels.

Flooding and mudslides had closed most routes between the coast and BC Interior over the past 24 hours, but the back route through Whistler on Hwy 99 remained open this morning.

That changed shortly after 11 am, when DriveBC reported that a mudslide 42 kilometres south of Lillooet had shut down Hwy 99 as well.

The only way to drive between the coast and the rest of Canada at this time is through the United States.

However, Washington is also seeing highway closures due to the inclement weather and residents would need a COVID-19 test to re-enter Canada.

It’s not just roads, either.

There are lots of reader comments about the situation over at the Canadian blog Small Dead Animals.  Here’s one:

I gotta stock up on food tomorrow because the island will run out in a few days here basically. Internet is down at the nearby stores so it’s cash only. The bank ATMs were closed too. Hopefully tomorrow internet is back!

Er . . . I think it’s a wee bit late to start stocking up on food, because everyone else in and around Vancouver will be doing the same thing, and what supplies there are will vanish like snow on a hot rock!  Also, one hopes the commenter had cash in reserve, because it sounds as if his credit cards won’t help him much (and I doubt that stores will accept checks under such circumstances).

This is going to be a very practical test in how well a major city is prepared to survive a weather disaster.  The photographs of the damaged roads and surface routes look very bad.  Let’s all watch how Canada copes, and learn, and update our own preparations accordingly.  It might not be a bad idea to contribute to relief efforts there, either – this is going to take a while to sort out.

(A tip o’ the hat to reader Joe L., who e-mailed me with the news of Vancouver’s cut-off.)



  1. Anyone else note that credit cards no longer have raised numbers? Means that those manual imprint machines no longer work. The card must be charged electronically.

  2. They'll get serviced by barges and ships – just like all of SE Alaska.
    It'll be slower, but things will get through.

  3. This is also Canada's main supply run from China which we gave up our industries for strictly importation.
    Really going to be interesting times for sure.

  4. Things should get interesting in about three days. That's about how long it takes most peoples' kitchen cabinets (no, no pantries I'm afraid) and gas tanks to run out. Then things come apart within a couple more days.

  5. "Also, one hopes the commenter had cash in reserve, " — OK. But, I'm thinking the inflation that is now and is coming, is going to make holding on to a cash stash an unappealing idea.

    Credit card "manual imprint machines" — Oh, my! I haven't seen one of those for decades.

  6. Small geography point. Vancouver Island, principal city Victoria, is serviced by ferry from Nanaimo (between the US border and Vancouver, BC and by the WA State Ferries from Port Angeles and the route through the San Juan Islands. Emphasis, island. Vancouver, B.C. is a mainland city.

  7. @Well Seasoned Fool: And that's why the cited article points out that the road and rail links between the city of Vancouver (not just the island) have been severed.

  8. About ten years ago I had a neighbor who was an assistant manager at the local Walmart. We got talking about preparedness and things and he mentioned that at his store the food staples turned over every 12 hours. I'm not positive, but I would guess that with Walmart's logistics they have a similar turnover at every store as well. Those that say there's three days of food at their local grocery will be disappointed.

  9. My bad, should have paid more attention to the article.

    If the COVID politics, by both countries, are changed to something more sensible, B.C can be supplied from the US. What may be another problem is the loss of B.C. ports until internal communications are restored.

  10. I grew up in Canada. For what it's worth there's always only been one road connecting Vancouver with the rest of Canada and it is a two lane highway (the Trans Canada Highway) for much of it's run through BC. Long been my understanding that most freight has always been routed through the US on the Interstate system. So this may not be as big a deal as the article makes it sound.

  11. Also, to follow up to WSF's comment, the Covid policy has always allowed trucks and trains across the border. I live near one of said borders and even at the height of the lockdowns there were always long lines of trucks waiting to take goods to Canada. We peasants, on the other hand, have been prohibited from visiting our parents for the past nearly two years.

  12. The most amusing thing about that write up is the "I gotta stock up on food tomorrow." There's an emergency. They clearly see that emergency and understand the need to do something to cope with that emergency. Still they're going to wait until tomorrow. What a hoot.
    Normalcy bias much?

  13. Stocked up on food some time back when there was plenty to go around = smart and reasonable, part of the solution.
    Stocking up on scarce food now there the crisis is here = hoarder and part of the problem.

    This reminds me of Max "WWZ" Brooks' new-ish book "Devolution" writ large. Maybe an army of bigfoots will be descending on Vancouver next. Can't wait for the video.

  14. Eh, it's just a standard hurricane crisis. Without the massive destruction, no power for weeks and hundreds of thousands of homeless. All the wailing is just more of the modern penchant for safetyism and victtimology. Quit whining and get busy.

  15. Speaking of the old paper and imprint Credit Card machines–I DID run into one in early August when travelling in western NY (OK SE of Buffalo). A weather-related power failure had wiped out internet connections so a purchase was done the old-fashioned way. Nothing has gon wrong. No, maybe it was up in Salem NH; point is it was RECENT and nothing has gone wrong because the last time cards had been done this way my number was lifted. Vancouver and BC will be in for some trouble.
    Interestingly, in March 1997 the Province of Quebec was hit with a severe ice storm. My girlfriend's daughter's in-laws are Canadian from Montreal; this ice storm took out the Quebec power grid for THREE WEEKS (!) which closed all the ATM's. Fortunately the in-laws like many Montrealers had a summer place over the US border and theirs was winterized. As soon as th roads wereplowed enough they drove to Rouses Point NY and stayed there.

  16. O.K. Let me straighten this out a bit. This time of year most food to Canada comes from the south, including south of the U.S.

    Vancouver and its burbs, plus Vancouver Island will not be hard hit.
    Beyond Hope (yes that is the city's name) in the interior, the shelves are already getting bare.

    I left Princeton B.C. on Sunday and got through, in a circuitous route back to Van.
    My wife Lives there and is a member of the search and rescue – she was helping to rescue people from the top floors of their house, by boat, New Orleans style. As there had been heavy snow prior to the warm, wet system moving in there is rare fall flooding throughout the Province. Look for video of Merrit, the Whatcom area of Abbotford (Hwy. 1 basically a lake) Princeton. etc.

    She was out again today in the small community of Tulemene, where some people are still stranded in their homes.

    Basically Vancouver will be fine, we get most of our gas from a refinery in Washington. and if the provincial and federal governments use common sense, we should be able to route food and other through Washington to the Osoyoos border to alleviate the problems of the interior.

    Hard year here this 2021, from the little village of Lytton being destroyed in mere hours from wildfire, to extra deaths from the Heat Dome, to this. Kinda seems Biblical here in the B.C.

  17. 99 South is still open, which turns into I5 at the Washington border, and there's a few other crossings to the east, so the lower mainland should have no real issues with supplies, assuming they're allowed to cross back and forth across the US border. Plus Vancouver gets a lot of sea traffic.

    Vancouver Island is also going to be fine, they're heavily serviced by ferry from mainland Canada at several points, and there's also ferry routes to Port Angeles in Washington.

    The folks in trouble due to the road closures are in the remote and rural areas, and so are the ones most likely to already be stocked up, winter weather frequently closes passes, wildfires cut them off, etc. Might be a bit lean, but they'll make it.

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