For the most part, the weather in the temperate zone of British Columbia is, as my husband puts it, wonderful, except for 3 months poor sleddin’ (rainy season).
In 1990, at 30 years old, I finally left Courtenay on Vancouver Island for the first time since moving there at 10 years old, moving to Edmonton to be with my fiance, Mark. To be honest, this was the first time leaving Vancouver Island at all.
Today, I was dismayed to see Facebook posts about the severe flooding happening there as a result of what they call a ‘King tide’.
According to a definition I heard on television, this phenomenon occurs when the highest tide combines with heavy rain and very high winds, pushing the excess water over land into personal property, farm fields, etc. Obviously, the lowest and closest lands are the most vulnerable.
The story I read in the Globe and Mail stated that civic leaders in Courtenay had declared a state of emergency.
This is the first time I’ve heard of something like this happening in Courtenay since I experienced it myself in 1976 or 1977.
I can’t remember which year, but I attended George P. Vanier Senior Secondary for two years, graduating in 1977. In whichever of these two years it was, I left class one afternoon to find the road in front of the high school that runs parallel to a small river had flooded.
At the time, I didn’t have a vehicle, so I started walking towards the main intersection of the Island Highway and Ryan Road (pictured recently in upper right photo), only to be stopped short when I realized just how deep the water was getting. At this point, I was up to my knees.
It’s a little frightening now, thinking about what a chance I was taking, but I decided to push on and continued walking. By the time I reached the intersection to turn towards my home in Comox, the water was just over my waist.
I could see, however, that the land a few hundred yards up Ryan Road, at the base of a big hill, was dry, so I pushed on even further.
Not far up Ryan Road, I was surprised to see someone exit their house (there were older homes there at the time), get into a canoe and start paddling toward town.
I couldn’t believe it!
I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t even think to say ‘Hi’.