This isn’t really the type of blog where I tell you about all the things I do in my day to day life, because, frankly, that would be a very dull read, much like my journals (Dear Journal, Today I went to work, and then I came home and had dinner and now I am going to sleep). Today, however, is worth reporting on. Due to huge amounts of rainfall in the last 36 hours, Calgary (along with much of southern Alberta) is under a state of emergency. Around 100,000 people in Calgary alone are under mandatory evacuation orders, with evacuations going late into last night and early this morning. The rain is still falling, and everybody is saying this is the biggest flood they’ve ever seen. I can’t help but agree.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Calgary, it’s a city built around two major rivers, both of which are spilling their banks right now. Major roads are washed out, most of the bridges across the rivers are closed, and nearly 30 low-lying neighborhoods (including our downtown!) have been evacuated. Authorities are hesitant to say the rivers have crested (though they were supposed to last night) as water levels are not subsiding. Water is still coming down quite heavily up in the mountains, which means we have more to come as it works its way down to us.
At Canmore, a mountain town about an hour west of Calgary, just on the eastern edge of Banff National Park, the Trans-Canada Highway has washed out. Cougar Creek, normally a tiny little creek (if that) has swollen to at least 100m across by some reports (if not more), and has washed away people’s yards and porches, and is threatening to wash away homes. Benchlands trail, a large road that is normally 30–50m from the road is now totally gone, not just swallowed by the river, but completely destroyed and washed away. It is the only access road to the northwest quadrant of the town, so residents are now trapped.
The small town of High River is also in trouble, and under total mandatory evacuation. Police and fire departments were rescuing people from their roof tops with manure spreaders, dump trucks, and combines as the waters rose in parts of the town that have never flooded before.
I took these photos on a walk I went on this morning to survey the damage. I’ve lived in Calgary for the majority of my life and have never seen anything like this—I’ve never seen the river burst its banks, I’ve never seen evacuations. This is incredible. For more photos, there’s a great album here.
And for those of you wondering about me—I’m totally fine. I live on the top of a hill, thankfully. I’m housing some friends who have been evacuated from their home, and stockpiling clean water in case a boil water advisory comes into effect. And, yes, I do have high resolution copies of these photos to scare grandchildren with.