The science behind the Fraser Valley’s November disaster

The Current dives into the science behind the floods and landslides from November 2021 with the help of two local geoscientists.

By Grace Kennedy | May 31, 2022 |5:00 am

Carie-Ann Lau saw the disaster unfold from the air. Drew Brayshaw experienced it on the ground. And six months later, the two geoscientists are still puzzling over aspects of the November catastrophe.

The extent of the devastation was unexpected and “very sobering,” Lau told The Current.

But for a geoscientist like Lau, who did her master’s thesis on debris flows in the valley, something unexpected is something to solve. For months now, Lau, Brayshaw, and other hydrologists, meteorologists, and geoscientists have been working to figure out exactly what turned a winter rainstorm into one of Canada’s most destructive natural disasters.

In some cases, the answer is clear. In others, geologists are still struggling to come to a consensus.


Grace shares what Lau and Brayshaw have learned about why November’s storms were so catastrophic at a geological level, and what the valley can do to prepare for a future with more disasters on the horizon.

Want to read The Current’s other flood coverage? Find it here.

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Grace Kennedy

Reporter at Fraser Valley Current

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