Damage from B.C., Atlantic storms no easy fix, must be done quickly: experts

Damage from B.C., Atlantic storms no easy fix, must be done quickly: experts

In the past two weeks, Canadians have seen the damage severe rainfall can cause to the country’s infrastructure, be it washed-out roads or destroyed dikes .

The rainstorms in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada have impacted livelihoods, with damaged highways and rail lines cutting off communities and hampering key supply chain routes.

Rebuilding infrastructure like roads quickly is vital, but with climate change threatening severe weather events in the future, it’s no easy fix, experts say.

“It’s basically like a new design — only you’re running around with your hair on fire trying to do it faster than you normally would,” said Keith Porter, chief engineer with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

“Maybe that costs a little bit more, but in light of the disaster, you may very well be willing to pay more for the faster construction.”

Unprecedented rainfall from atmospheric rivers in B.C. and the Maritimes has dropped hundreds of millimetres worth of rain — surpassing in days the totals some regions see in a whole month.

even as the region prepares for another series of storms. The cost of the flooding damage from last week alone could make it the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.

Three B.C. municipalities sustained heavy damage: Abbotsford, Merritt, and Hope. Heavy rains and mudslides caused extreme damage to the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt.

While officials originally directed travellers to use Highway 3 to Princeton from Hope as an alternative, that area suffered a new washout Monday afternoon and has been reduced to a single lane for essential traffic only.
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