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Underwater by V.S. Wells

Abbotsford, BC (city of Abbotsford photo) V. S. Wells 8-11 minutes British Columbia has seen forest fires, heat waves, double rainbows, the northern lights and a waterspout in the last six months. Now we can add floods and mudslides to that long list of wild weather.

The dramatic footage of destroyed roads, flooded towns and a runaway giant barge made it to evening news around the world — even before the tragic confirmation of at least one fatality, with more likely to come. More people remain missing. Nearly 18,000 people have had to leave their homes. Flood evacuees are staying in temporary shelters with wildfire evacuees. All of the major highways to and from the Port of Vancouver are shut, meaning supply chain issues are imminent. Power went out all over the Lower Mainland and parts of Vancouver Island.

Premier John Horgan has stressed the need for the province to become more resilient to deal with extreme weather. “I think all British Columbians fully understand that now we have to better prepare for events like this, but we couldn’t have even imagined it six months ago,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday. “We need to start preparing for a future that includes more regular events like this, and we fully intend to do that.”

A lot of people haven’t been impressed by the province’s handling of the latest climate disaster. The government didn’t respond to media requests last Sunday, when meteorologists said in no uncertain terms that an “atmospheric river” was coming. Province-wide emergency alerts weren’t issued. Local governments were left to make their own choices, and B.C. deflected criticism by essentially blaming them for not doing more to protect their citizens.

This summer’s forest fires may also have