I tried to come up with a catchy title for this post but, honestly, everything I came up with seemed just…..wrong. You see, the city I live in, the city I love, has had a really bad week. At first I just felt whiney. It was raining all day, every day for quite a few days with no break. Every morning we awoke to see more dark clouds on the horizon. I made sure to pack Evan’s rain coat while whining inside about all the rain. Where was summer?
Yesterday it became clear that whining about rain was not going to be the extent of the problem. The rivers were rising and they were rising fast. (Backstory: Calgary was built around the confluence of two rivers, The Bow and The Elbow.) This happens frequently enough that everyone knows it is a pain but it is usually relegated to a couple of neighborhoods. This time, it was different. The list of evacuations grew longer and longer. Pictures started showing up on Twitter that looked vaguely familiar but they were FULL of water. Dark, muddy water full of debris and filling up gaps where roads, pathways, air, yards used to be.
Then the neighbourhoods on each side of us got included in the evacuation orders. The waters were CLOSE….and it was still raining. Not light rain either. Nope, heavy, drenching torrential rain. Our neighborhood is in a hilly area with a giant hill between us and the closest river. Logically I knew we would be fine but I could NOT put down my computer. I followed twitter and Facebook like a hawk looking for any inkling of the next neighborhood closures. Thankfully my neighborhoods name never showed up.
Throughout the flood, Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, the Calgary Police force and the media have been amazing. They have been putting out timely, pertinent information to citizens and answering as many questions as they possibly could through any and every means at their disposal. It truly has been a case study in how to handle a municipal emergency situation.
I finally closed my laptop near midnight last night and went to bed. I hoped that I would not be awoken by a notification that we needed to evacuate. This morning, I was happy to wake up and see that the view outside my window looked much the same as it did yesterday. Checking in, I saw that the rivers had (or would soon) reach their crest. However, looking at the pictures flooding twitter, I could see that the damage was much, much more extensive than anyone thought it would be.
Having to see it for ourselves, Dewey and I took a walk through our neighbourhood. We went to an area where we could look at the river without being anywhere near it. The devastation we saw was breathtaking. Honestly, I knew that I loved this city at that moment because I teared up at what I saw. Water everywhere. The pathways that I frequent….gone.
Thankfully, I have no doubt that Calgary will be back on its feet in no time. Calgarians are banding together to house, feed and support those that have been evacuated (approximately 100,000 people have had to leave their homes). Municipal leaders and first responders are working tirelessly to make sure Calgary is as safe as humanly possible. Many are asking if Stampede will still be a go. Though I’m sure it hasn’t been decided for sure yet, I can imagine Calgary will do everything in our power to make sure it is the best Stampede ever.
Okay….enough rambling. Long story short, it is very wet here in Calgary and many surrounding areas. Everyone will be digging out for a long, long time. It looks like my family and I are fine and have missed the flooding (thankfully). My heart and thoughts go out to those in Calgary displaced from their homes and those who have lost their homes.
Take a moment to send good thoughts to Southern Alberta please and my fellow Calgarians….stay safe.
For the latest information on the Calary flood, visit calgary.ca or search the #yycflood hashtag on Instagram or Twitter.