Higher seas, more storms for Victoria, B.C.: climate report

Victoria residents should prepare for more floods, heat waves and a 45-centimetre rise in sea level over the next 50 years, a climate change risk assessment for the City of Victoria says.

A risk assessment on climate change for the City of Victoria says it needs to start work now to prepare for rising sea levels, more storms, wetter winters and drier summers.

The assessment looks at the projected risks the city will face with changes in climate conditions by 2050.

It says one of the city's greatest risks from climate change is heat waves, which could pose a danger to the city's older residents.

"We have an aging population which is particularly vulnerable to heat and we will see more flooding, which could result in more property damage," said Roy Brookes, the director of Victoria's Sustainability Department.

Preparing for the impacts of climate change could mitigate damage and save the city money over the long term, he added.

"Some people are motivated by just helping the planet out, but other people are very interested in the fact that to reduce your emissions, basically you have to save energy and to save energy, you're saving money," Brookes said.

The report predicts temperatures in Victoria could rise by more than two degrees by 2050, the amount of summer rain could drop by 32 per cent, while winter precipitation may jump 14 per cent, along with a similar increase in the number of intense storms.

It says the sea level could rise by 45 centimetres during winter high tides, and that combined with more storms would cause flooding and other storm-related damage.

Brookes says a Community Adaptation and Mitigation Plan is expected to be completed in January.

The risk assessment brought together experts from the Pacific Climate Impact Consortium, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the City of Victoria.

With files from the CBC’s Lisa Cordasco and The Canadian Press