A week ago, this river, jammed with ice and swollen by a massive rain and snow storm, burst its banks. The muddy-looking chunks toward the left are actually the leftover pieces of some of the enormous ice pans that clogged the river.
The river is still unusually high, but no longer a threatening behemoth.
Last weekend’s storm (massive rain, massive snow, more massive rain, then a freeze) caused the ice pans to block the water flow from further up-river, resulting in a flood. Parts of the nearby town have been evacuated and other parts are completely under water.
Penticton (and most of British Columbia) has had a much colder winter than usual. Heck, over the last six months, it’s had unbelievably bad weather, period.
First there were heat waves (referred to as “heat domes” by the media). No matter what they were called, they were bad. I will never forget seeing on June 28 a temperature of 46°C (115°F) on our deck. In the shade.
Then there were the fires. Almost all of the town of Lytton was consumed by them. Throughout British Columbia, the air quality was terrible and the heat unrelenting.
Then autumn brought intense rain accompanied by high winds. The rain saturated the soil, the wind pulled the fire-dead trees from the ground, and this lead to extreme flooding and landslides, especially in the lower mainland. Dozens of landslides swept vehicles from the roads and trapped people and communities in isolated pockets.
The Coquihalla Highway, a main four-to-six lane artery that carries supplies and people through the mountains, was seriously damaged in 20 separate places. The community of Abbotsford, a major supplier of dairy and other agricultural products and situated in the lower mainland, suffered extreme flooding and enormous economic damage.
Now we’re being hit by record-breaking cold temperatures with freezing rain, snow and slush. The media are doing reports on how people can help to save the non-migratory hummingbirds from freezing to death. According to the scientists, this is the tip of the (melting) iceberg because these “weather events” are going to get worse.
Question is, what are we doing to mitigate this situation? And, what are we doing to get ready for what’s coming?