Jim Mattison

    THE ERA OF WEATHER EXTREMES IS UPON US: “Ecology is not rocket science. It’s way more complicated. This is not to downplay the difficulty of rocket science, but to point out the incredible complexity of natural systems where all the variables aren’t known and are often connected to and influence one another,” stated Armel Castellan, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (December 2021)

    “Recent flooding in southwest B.C. (in mid-November 2021) was connected to the cumulative amount of rain falling in a short period of time. It was also linked to several record-breaking wildfire seasons which reduced tree cover on mountainsides and the vegetation that would normally have helped to absorb and slow water running into streams and rivers. The interconnectedness this year also included the almost unfathomable summer heat dome which set off a chain reaction — early drought, drier forests, and wildfires starting four to five weeks earlier than usual,” explained Armel Castellan.

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    THE ERA OF WEATHER EXTREMES IS UPON US: “The B.C. government was clearly warned over a decade ago that staffing levels at its River Forecast Centre were far below those at similar operations in Oregon and Alberta and that more than a doubling of employees was needed to provide effective flood-risk assessment and early notice to communities in harm’s way,” says researcher Ben Parfitt in a new report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (December 2021)

    Ben Parfitt claims the under-resourced River Forecast Centre (RFC) was not timely in its warnings to British Columbians. “The late issuance of warnings by the RFC in the days and hours leading up to the horrendous flooding that has devastated Abbotsford, Merritt, Princeton and First Nations communities in recent weeks is coming under increasing scrutiny,” he says. Compounding problems, in Parfitt’s view, is poor communication from the government. Parfitt concludes, “In the face of silence, the flood of questions is certain to grow.”

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