News Views: Storm numbers hit home

BC Hydro stats show increase

It’s not often when you hear dramatic, compelling words out of corporate newspeak.

But recently, BC Hydro is sounding more like a news outlet with its statistically based assessments of the effects of a changing climate.

In mid-November, for instance, Hydro’s report, Storm warning: The impact of B.C.’s wild weather is having on British Columbians and their power, concludes that storms are hitting B.C. harder and more often as a result of climate change.

It cites an ominous statistic, which says the number of power outages jumped in the last five years, from 323,000 in 2013 – to 1.18 million in 2017. (BC Hydro crews responded to 6,100 downed or damaged power lines in 2013, compared to nearly 10,000 in 2017.)

To punctuate that, B.C. was hit with another storm on Dec. 20 that tore into powerlines and toppled trees and produced wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

That, said Hydro, was the most damaging storm in its history, plunging more than 750,000 customers into the dark for hours. Wind, and in some places, more than 400 millimetres of rain, trashed power poles and trees.

All of which should remind all of us – to prepare for more calamities in the future. An ounce of prevention is worth a tonne of cure, so more must be done to mitigate the effects of floods, wind and fire, from limiting building in flood plains, to flood proofing developments, to improving on the minimal progress that’s been made in building fire smart communities. It’s not rocket science. It’s time to get to work.

– The News

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