Barely two weeks into winter and two big weather events under our belts already!
It has been a wild one so far, with the worst windstorm in BC Hydro’s history battering the west coast on the eve of the winter solstice. Three quarters of a million of us lost power, some for more than two weeks, and over Christmas too. We were lucky here in our muddy valley, our lights stayed on and our well stayed online. We had no internet for a couple days, and no cable TV, but those were minor inconveniences.
A couple days after the windstorm, we drove 300 km up island to spend Christmas with family. We got lucky again, it only took three hours, not the 6.5 it had taken our kids the day before. The traffic lights were back on, thank you BC Hydro crews, but the highway corridor was still a war zone.
Both sides of the road and the centre line were green with fir needles, twigs and boughs. In some places, huge conifers lay every few feet all along the roadside, fallen soldiers with raw fresh-sawn stumps glowing rusty orange through the grey wintry gloom. Side roads were closed entirely.
From Boxing Day to the 29th of December, 96 straight hours of west coast misty rain lubricated the efforts of the 900-odd people working double shifts to repair our power grid, and they had the lights back on most everywhere by the 31st.
New Years was quiet, but on January 2, with our creek still busy digesting her latest voluminous meal, the most massive rainstorm in years stalled over Vancouver Island for 48 hours, delivering record-breaking amounts of rainfall. It just poured.
So here we are, still only at the beginning of January, with peak mud levels in our muddy valley. The creek is a many headed hydra, snaking all across the north fields before collecting herself to slip under the heavy timber driveway bridge with bare inches to spare. Still in a mad rush, she squeezes her bulk into the narrow deep channel that skirts the house, filling it to its very tippy top and splashing over the edges.
We are lucky too, that the people who built this place situated the house where they did, on the high side of the creek. Any overflow goes the other way, out towards the fields, and our valley-bottom house never floods, no matter what Mother Nature throws at us.
Today, finally, exactly two weeks into winter; sunshine. The calm after the storms. I luxuriate in the rays of honeyed light. With no new storms in the forecast, things should settle down now for a bit. What a relief, for us and the barnyard crew. Everyone is pretty fed up with this challenging weather.
Oh. Crap. What’s that? You gotta be kidding me, another weather warning? Wind gusts to 90km/h tomorrow? Sigh. Ok. Here we go again.