Aging infrastructure can’t keep up with latest storms: experts The Canadian Press
The torrential rain that washed out roads, bridges and a key rail link in Nova Scotia on the weekend is being described as another sign that engineers cannot rely on past weather patterns to design infrastructure able to withstand rising sea levels and destructive storms.
Slobodan Simonovic said that when planning infrastructure, builders consider population needs, precipitation and other weather data.
“This design is usually based on historical observations, how much rain we’ve had in the past,” said Simonovic, professor emeritus at the department of civil and environmental engineering at Western University in London, Ont.
“Now this is changing, and historical observations are not sufficiently representative of future conditions. With climate change, there is a very significant modification in both frequency and severity of these rain events.”
For example, roads are not able to drain water because they aren’t designed to deal with so much rain falling in a short period, he said. Officials in Halifax have called the storm that dumped as much as 250 millimetres of rain in places over the weekend a one-in-a-thousand-years weather event.
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