A Chilliwack Chiefs road trip to Penticton would normally be a quick three hour trip up the Coquihalla, but the highway is badly damaged and impassable. (BC Transportation)

A Chilliwack Chiefs road trip to Penticton would normally be a quick three hour trip up the Coquihalla, but the highway is badly damaged and impassable. (BC Transportation)

EDITORIAL: Weather anomalies are not normal

Extreme weather is becoming more and more common

The past year has been defined by unusual weather events and climate irregularities.

In summer, heat records in Canada and especially in British Columbia were shattered, with temperatures breaking records by several degrees. Those past records had been set in the late 1930s.

British Columbia’s 2021 wildfire season was the third-worst in recorded history. Smoke blanketed many communities throughout the province, and British Columbians watched to see if their communities would be at risk from a wildfire. The community of Lytton was destroyed by fire during the summer. Breathing was difficult, especially for those with underlying lung issues.

And now, as winter approaches, recent extreme flooding and mudslides destroyed homes, washed out highways and blocked all road access between the Lower Mainland and the British Columbia Interior.

WATCH: B.C. officials urge residents to prep for more storms, say food supply is stable

Recovering and rebuilding from each of these events is difficult and costly.

In recent years, weather anomalies have become more frequent than in the past, and the outcomes have been more severe than before.

The Okanagan Valley and other parts of the southern Interior received intense flooding just a few years ago, and three of the past four years have had severe and devastating wildfire seasons. The region has even experienced flooding and intense wildfires in the same year.

Whether each of the unusual weather events of the past few years is a one-off irregularity or part of global climate change, the underlying message remains the same. We need strategies to deal with natural disasters and massive weather-related disruptions.

Without good strategies in place, future years could prove even more challenging than what we have experienced in the past few years.

Forest management, fire controls, flood prevention and other initiatives will become essential.

Without wise planning, weather events such as those seen over the past year could result in a level of devastation none of us can comprehend.

— Black Press



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