After a week of hype, the third in a set of three weekend storms turned into a non-event for Port Alberni.
Many people are pooh-poohing the amount of preparation that went into the storm’s anticipation. We have only to look back 10 years, to November 2006, to figure out why all the planning takes place.
Ten years ago, the city wasn’t prepared for the storm that brought hurricane-force winds and cut off the community both east and west on Highway 4. The entire city lost power, trees came down by the dozen—including Cathedral Grove—and there was widespread flooding.
Even as recently as two years ago, the Somass River overflowed its banks in a once-a-century event. The community rallied to help residents caught in the flooding, especially those living on the Tseshaht First Nation Reserve along the Somass.
Community leaders have now formed plans to be proactive when heavy weather events are predicted, instead of reactive. Emergency committees have plans on how to handle weather events, flood mitigation work has happened on Third Avenue to try and alleviate massive flooding in the area, and the City of Port Alberni continues to twin its water and sewer lines to take the pressure off both in heavy rains.
Yes, the storm was a virtual non-event, changing course at the last minute and hitting Washington State and Oregon with more force. But shouldn’t we be grateful that we’re fine, and not caught unprepared?
We have learned some things in the past 10 years and that’s not a bad thing.