Snow-covered benches on Willow Street in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Four weather extremes in the Chemainus area in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Everything in moderation, right?

That’s the edict we’re supposed to follow no matter what we do in life. A little of this, a little of that is fine, but too much of one thing, well, it’s not a good thing.

When it comes to eating, in particular, if you don’t practice moderation, you know what’s going to happen.

The weather is probably one area where we’ve never had to worry much about moderation. It’s usually taken care of itself.

That definitely can’t be said of the last six months. I don’t think we’ve ever experienced so many extremes in such a short period of time.

Remember back now to last August, 2018, as we start our journey. The heat was hot, to paraphrase the rather obvious lyrics from the America song A Horse With No Name, and wildfires were burning all over the province. It was a scary situation.

We honestly didn’t know how long it would be before we experienced any relief. Fortunately, it did come to an end in due course, of course, but by the end of it we were sick of hot and dry weather.

Fast forward to November when it rained a lot. We were getting rather tired of that, too, as it extended into December and then came another nasty extreme: wind.

The wind storm of Dec. 20 was horrible. Trees toppled, people went without electricity for days and normal life, as we knew it, seemed to be in upheaval.

We no sooner recovered from that when heavy rains picked up again in early January. It was so intense that flooding occurred within a very short period of time.

Again, we were fortunate it wasn’t much worse. If the rain had continued for even another day or two we would have been looking at extensive flooding in areas where it normally doesn’t happen.

As thoughts of that extreme subsided, we got into a cold spell during early February that kind of caught everyone by surprise. Everyone figured we were just about out of the woods in this part of the world and didn’t need to worry about potentially snowy weather as we got into the second week of the month.

That theory got shot down rather quickly and, as we all know too well because it’s still fresh in our minds, we were inundated with snow.

Snow in February isn’t as unusual as some people think. The last three years we’ve actually experienced significant snow and it’s becoming more prominent as a winter month than the latter part of December or January.

I have to leave the explanations and technical observations to our Chemainus weather expert, Chris Carss, and you’ve been seeing plenty of articles with his name in them during the last six months as we’ve been hit by one weather extreme after another.

I’ve never minded our changing weather and, in fact, prefer it to a climate where you can’t tell if it’s February, June or October, other than a few degrees of difference, but with similar conditions otherwise.

I have to say right now I hate the extended warm and dry summers with abundant forest fires, I’m not a fan of persistent heavy rain over many days, I can do without the damaging windstorms and worrying about some of the worst possible outcomes and now I would just as soon not see the white stuff piling up around our town for any extended periods, either.

What we really need is, yes, moderation again.

The fact that’s not happening can certainly be attributed to global warming. Now, before you say it’s been cold and snowing so global warming isn’t happening, that’s not the case.

My understanding, and again, I’m no expert, but from what I’ve seen on a National Geographic program and elsewhere, these extremes are the product of global warming.

The temperature of the earth is warming slightly every year, but we are experiencing these extremes related to global conditions. U.S. president Donald Trump recently questioned it because of all of the cold weather that hit large regions of that country this winter, but he’s wrong like so many others.

Fortunately, we don’t get tornadoes or hurricanes here, but those are happening in unprecedented numbers in other areas. Mudslides, earthquakes and more are occurring far more frequently.

The time is definitely here, folks, when we have to take global warming seriously. Hopefully, world leaders will finally get their acts together and properly address this in consultation and cooperation with scientists.

There’s no turning back now. The way we live and the atmosphere around us has clearly changed forever and we need to be cognizant of the steps we all need to take as individuals so it doesn’t get worse.

There are many climate change seminars and talks taking place everywhere, including here in Chemainus. It would be great to see more people taking an active interest.

(Don Bodger is the editor of the Chemainus Valley Courier).

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