The high waters of Alberni’s Somass River in Novermber, as seen from the Orange Bridge. ELENA RARDON ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS FILE

The high waters of Alberni’s Somass River in Novermber, as seen from the Orange Bridge. ELENA RARDON ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS FILE

Editorial: B.C. weather the new normal

This may be the new spring weather

Even if you fall into the camp that refuses to accept the reality of climate change, it’s clear B.C. is going through a rough patch when it comes to extreme weather events.

Though we’re fortunate here on the Island, many on the mainland are dealing with significant flooding.

The nature of the flooding is a little different from last year, but creeks are overflowing their banks and Osoyoos Lake, in particular, is passing historic maximums.

If we are lucky, the high water won’t be followed by another summer of devastating forest fires.

While the flooding and potential wildfires might not be happening here in the West Shore, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an impact all the same.

Last year, Vancouver Island firefighters were sent up to the Interior to help fight the wildfires. The deployment was part of a regional approach to help the province with the spreading fires, while making sure crews were still able to properly protect our region in the case of an emergency.

Regardless of the reason, these events are indicators the climate is changing. It may settle down over the next few years, or be more limited in scope. Or it may be something we have to learn to live with.

That doesn’t mean just our personal expectations of what constitutes spring and summer in B.C., but governments of all levels will need to take extreme weather events into account when budgeting, just as they currently do for winter snow.

The same goes for businesses that rely heavily on tourism for their bottom line. The tourism sector on the mainland was already concerned about the ongoing effect of all the stories covering last year’s flooding and fires in the province, and are already laying plans to counteract the image that potential tourists will get from the current flooding situation.

Like it or not, this may be the new norm.


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