Front Burner

How a catastrophic climate event unfolded in B.C.

Extreme weather has unleashed record floods and massive mudslides, devastating parts of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Today on Front Burner, a look at how this week's weather event unfolded and whether the province did enough to warn people.
People are transported on a Surrey Search and Rescue boat after being rescued from a flooded area in Abbotsford, B.C., on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

British Columbia declared a state of emergency Wednesday after days of extreme flooding and mudslides destroyed major highways and cut off entire communities in parts of the Lower Mainland. Mass evacuations were ordered in places like Merritt, Princeton and parts of Abbotsford, a city of nearly 100,000 people, but the full scale of the devastation still isn't known.

These kinds of climate events are becoming all too familiar in B.C. It was just four and a half months ago that a crushing heat dome killed nearly 600 people in the province, and a wildfire burned the town of Lytton to the ground.

Today on Front Burner, how this week's weather event, known as an atmospheric river, unfolded, and how other recent extreme climate events may have made it worse. 

If this is the new normal for B.C., what does the future look like for people in the province? Finally, a conversation with CBC Vancouver reporter Justin McElroy about how the B.C. government responded and what needs to change moving forward.

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