Winter Is Coming: Is Your Community Ready For More Extreme Weather?

Only about a third of British Columbians have taken steps to be prepared, says BC Hydro.

A person wearing a yellow rain jacket looks out at the ocean during a rainstorm.
'Braving the storm' Credit: @Nate_Bittinger-Canva.com

Because of climate change there is no such thing as a traditional “storm season” says a new report by BC Hydro. 

Expect the unexpected “when it comes to storms and weather-related power outages,” warned the report, “Worst-case storm-nario.” 

BC Hydro outage map of the BC South Coast as of 10pm November 4, 2022.
BC Hydro outage map of the BC South Coast as of 10pm November 4, 2022.

There are steps everyone can take to stay safe – but the report found that half of B.C. residents surveyed don’t trust weather forecasts, only one third have taken steps to prepare since last year’s major storms, and “preparedness fatigue” has set in.

Stay safe, stressed the power company, advising that everyone have flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, extra medications, and non-perishable food and bottled water in case the power goes out.

Crews upgrading power lines in snowy conditions in Smithers BC (2012). Source: BC Hydro.com
Crews upgrading power lines in snowy conditions in Smithers BC (2012). Source: BC Hydro.com

The report noted that atmospheric river storms and unprecedented flooding and damage last November cut off power to more than a quarter of a million people – and this year could be worse.

“This year, B.C. is facing potentially critical storm conditions again due to drought weakened vegetation and has already experienced smaller scale atmospheric river storms this fall, with more on the way.”

“Preparation for storm-related outages is vital this year, as BC Hydro is predicting potential for more weather-related power outages than a typical year,” it said. 

BC Hydro said its own preparations for more extreme weather include using smart meters to locate and repair outages, improved meteorology models that let it dispatch crews faster, and year-round removal of trees and vegetation “that could pose a problem during storm season.”

Vancouver, Canada - Mar 8, 2014: A Canadian Forces "Cormorant" Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter on the helicopter pad of the Naval Reserve Unit HMCS Discovery in Vancouver, British Columbia on a rainy spring day in 2014. Canadian Forces search and rescue technicians and the Canadian Coast Guard were on a joint search and rescue exercise on the coast of British Columbia to prepare for emergencies.
Vancouver, Canada – Mar 8, 2014: A Canadian Forces “Cormorant” Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter on the helicopter pad of the Naval Reserve Unit HMCS Discovery in Vancouver, British Columbia on a rainy spring day in 2014. Canadian Forces search and rescue technicians and the Canadian Coast Guard were on a joint search and rescue exercise on the coast of British Columbia to prepare for emergencies.

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