Weather is always a consideration for rural residents traveling to access health care. In BC we are plagued mostly with snow, ice and fog making travel treacherous at completely cutting off communities at times. For a woman in labor in a community with limited local services, this can be a stressful situation. Likewise, care providers who depend upon an integrated perinatal transport system to move women in cases of unexpected emergencies also live with the stress of unanticipated weather events.
We have had a number of experiences of challenging road conditions in Canada. We have not, however, faced a cyclone and flooding as is common in parts of Australia. During the past two days the North Coast of New South Wales was hit by torrential rains and cyclone-intensity winds, making driving nearly impossible. As we tried to navigate the roads we recognized that although the type of extreme weather was different, the effect was the same: the inability to travel. In both Canada and Australia, we need to take the potential for extreme weather into account when planning services. Although the weather may look different in Australia, the effects on reaching a referral hospital are the same.