SCOTLAND is known for its turbulent weather, but it’s not often that we get 100mph winds. However, that’s exactly what happened last week when we were hit by Storm Arwen. The response from the emergency services was characteristically swift, but some of the damage will take a long time to repair.

Thousands of us were left without electricity. My own community had a three-day power cut and some households across the country are still disconnected. Around 10,000 households across Scotland also had their water supply disrupted with many being cut off entirely.

There was also widespread and extensive damage to our natural environment. It was heartbreaking to see 250-year-old trees that had survived the industrial revolution and two world wars lying felled in my community.

Energy network staff braved the storm and worked around the clock to restore power. They went above and beyond, despite terrible conditions, and we should be grateful to them. They managed to restore power to most homes by the end of the weekend, but the longer-term impact on our infrastructure and nature could be with us for a long time.

READ MORE: Storm Arwen kills hundreds of seal pups on Scottish coast

It also gave us a glimpse into the future. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said Storm Arwen was a “once-in-a-generation event” but that may not be the case for long. Across the world, these extreme and unpredictable weather events are becoming more common – as our climate changes, they will become even more so.

The World Meteorological Association has warned that extreme weather events are becoming “the new norm”. That is why we need to reflect on the last week and ensure that as much resilience as possible is built into the response systems.

An important part of that is ensuring that timely and accurate information is available to everyone who needs it. The situation was fast-changing, but I know from experience how frustrating it was to be given contradictory and confusing rolling advice for four days. This was particularly difficult for businesses, schools and other services that need to plan ahead.

The information available on mobile phone apps, for example, contradicted live information that was being fed to people via call centres, creating a confusing picture which meant many householders were uncertain and unable to think ahead.

With many people facing financial hardship this winter, the choice to abandon a home and get hotel accommodation would have been easier if they had known about available compensation.

While SSEN was keen to tell customers it would refund the cost of a pizza, the message that householders could be eligible for up to £700 through the compensation schemes was missing.

Future-proofing our infrastructure is now a hugely important part of how we adapt to the climate change that is already here. The capability of our water, transport and energy systems to withstand extreme weather will require major investment.

Much of the debate about climate change has so far been about how quickly we can cut emissions to limit global heating, but with the world now at 1.2 degrees, climate change has well and truly arrived.

The past 12 months have seen all sorts of terrible records set, from record snowfall in Madrid to record rainfall in Germany and record heat waves in the US. There is barely a country in the world that hasn’t been impacted, with some scientists calling this year the “canary in the coal mine” for climate change.

The impacts of extreme weather can be devastating. At the same time as Storm Arwen was battering our coasts, Somalia was facing a drought, with the United Nations warning that 2.3 million people are already suffering with serious water, food and pasture shortages.

As a rich country we can bounce back from Storm Arwen, we have well-regulated utilities, financial safety nets and public funds to invest in the future. For many people around the world, their infrastructure is poor and extreme weather events claim lives, while setting back economic development and widening inequality.

According to the World Health Organisation, climate change is responsible for at least 150,000 deaths per year, a number that it expects to double by 2030. The countries that are feeling the greatest impact are often those that have low emissions and are already suffering from war, conflict and other crises.

READ MORE: Scots face week-long power cut due to Storm Arwen chaos

That is why climate mitigation is not enough. Climate justice is critical and COP26 failed to make enough concrete progress on providing the funding for “loss and damage” caused by climate change. The leadership shown by the Scottish Government was welcome on this issue, but a breakthrough is needed at the next COP.

The past 18 months have shown how interlinked our lives are, and how much we rely on one another. The decisions we make in one country can have impacts in others, and the decisions that this generation makes will have a legacy that lasts far beyond us. Unfortunately, we have also seen the catastrophic impact of waiting too long to take action. We cannot do that again.

Storm Arwen will eventually be out of the headlines, but, for many in our communities, the consequences will endure for a lot longer. That is why we need to learn the lessons from it and ensure that we are as prepared as possible for the next one. It is also why we need to redouble our efforts to build a fairer, greener Scotland in a more interconnected world.