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A coordinated response to the November 2021 atmospheric rivers on infrastructure in British Columbia

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From mid to late November 2021, southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington was affected by a series of atmospheric rivers that caused widespread geohazards and destruction of critical infrastructure. Highways, pipelines, energy transmission lines, and railways all experienced damage and were inoperable – many still are. Communities were flooded, homes were lost, and livestock terminated. In the immediate aftermath of the event, BGC worked collaboratively with numerous clients spanning multiple sectors to develop an understanding of the damage and help chart a path to recovery. Our response effort involved field-based staff to collect observations and photographs while working in tandem with office-based staff to process and analyze instrumentation, remote sensing, and historical datasets to understand, quantify, and design remediations. We will describe the intensity and duration of the atmospheric rivers including rainfall and snowmelt and their relationship to observed flood magnitudes and how advancements in photogrammetric and airborne lidar change detection processing and digital delivery of the results have supported the immediate response and are helping asset owners begin operations.

Lato M & Lau CA (2022) A coordinated response to the November 2021 atmospheric rivers on infrastructure in British Columbia. USGS Landslide Hazards Program Seminar Series, 19 January 2022.




Public Domain.

Video thumbnail credit: Carie-Ann Lau, BGC Engineering. Use: Public Domain.
Caption: Bank erosion along the Coldwater River (British Columbia, Canada) due to the 2021 November 13-15 atmospheric river.