Atmospheric Rivers Continue to Flood Pacific Northwest

A home and car are submerged in floodwaters in British Columbia.

A home and car are submerged in floodwaters in Abbotsford, British Columbia on Nov. 21, 2021. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Two atmospheric rivers dumped even more rain on Washington and British Columbia over the (American) Thanksgiving weekend, and another is expected to pummel the already-widely-flooded region today.

Some areas have been deluged by more than 2 feet of rain in the last 30 days. Less than two weeks ago as many as 18,000 people were cut off by flooding in southern British Columbia.

Climate change is worsening extreme precipitation events and flooding. The warming, caused mainly by extracting and burning fossil fuels, also supercharges wildfires, which further exacerbates the flooding by denuding mountainsides of erosion protection.

As reported by CNN:

Environment Canada has issued its first “red alert” for British Columbia ahead of what officials are characterizing as a dangerous weather system expected to push more atmospheric rivers into the province.

“The red level is something new that we have not issued,” Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CNN Canadian affiliate CTV.

Castellan noted the storms are coming back-to-back-to-back with very little time in between.

“So, imagine that we’ve had an extraordinarily wet fall, the soil is, the landscape is completely saturated. Any extra moisture runs down much more easily and quicker,” he said.”We also have had snow,” he said. “So, in those middle elevations, there is snow to melt, and that is precisely what these next couple of storms are going to do. We are going to be adding snow melt to the rainwater and creating a lot of runoff.”

For a deeper dive:

Axios, The Washington Post, AP, NPR, CNN, The New York Times; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation events, Flooding

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