Friday, June 21, 2013

#YYCflood

Today was not the first day of summer any of us were expecting. I'm still gathering my thoughts and I'm afraid this post may be a bit of my spewing.  Bear with me.

We are fine.  Living outside of the city means our family isn't in any danger in the Calgary flooding and, for that, I am very grateful today.   Hubby's work is in the core and inaccessible for now.  My commute is difficult so I stayed home and worked from here today.  The girlies don't understand.  At all.   I spent a good two hours explaining it to Doodle.   She finally understands that the river is really big and that the bridge we cross into downtown everyday is under the river now.


Most of my friends are okay.  I've been trying to check in regularly. An old friend from high school was evactuated from High River.  A single mom with 4 daughters who had to leave her home and flee to safety.   The photos on her Instagram tonight broke my heart.  I also have my favourite aunt who lives in Bragg Creek and, while she hasn't been evacuated, she lives in an area surrounded by road closures.  I worry about her constantly.

Tomorrow, my good friend, V, gets married.  Her wedding reception was to be at the zoo.  The Zoo is under water.  Twice, the reception has been moved - the last time to outside of the city.  Isn't it stressful enough to plan a wedding, let alone have the bulk of the planning be uprooted in the last 2 days before the event?

Most alarming are the people on the news who proudly boast about how they refuse to leave their homes.   How, by defying MANDATORY evacuation orders they are protecting their homes and possessions.   How they don't want to be susceptible to looters like they were in 2005.  Pardon my french, but FUCK OFF!  Seriously?  You want to risk your own safety for the sake of a bunch of crap you probably don't need anyway?  A bunch of crap that your insurance will likely cover when all of this is over?  Get with it, people.  The authorities are telling you to leave so they can protect these things.  Don't worry about your possessions - worry about your person.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to witness Calgary's emergency disaster services team in action.  I work just over the wall from them and it was a constant hub of activity there.  Watching them make sure that those in medical distress could be taken care of made me proud to work for the company I do.

Looking at the images of Calgary makes me just want to cry.  Today I have broken down so many times at the unbelievable sights that have passed through my Twitter.  This city I love is a mess.   Torn apart by the rivers that run through it.   People are displaced.  Others are reaching out.  It is an amazing testament to the resiliency of our people.  Our emergency crews have been working around the clock to keep us safe.  To save us from our selves.  To keep this from being a bigger disaster than it needs to be. And it's a pretty big disaster.  The worst Calgary has ever seen.

Tonight we took a drive to our closest access point to the Bow River - McKinnon Flats, just south of Langdon.  We were definitely not alone out there.   The road was lined with cars and everyone was climbing over the barricade across the entrance to see the river there.

It was a terrible sight.  The area is usually two wide parking lots, a "beach" of large rocks and then the Bow River.   Tonight, all of that is under water.


The river is 3 times as wide as it normally would be.   Ten or twelve cows were across the river on the sheer bank...there is not flatland over there - just a stony cliff that runs along the south bank.   And these cows were trapped there and bawling.   It broke my heart.


Twice, a Cesna plane flew overhead, tracing the river's path.  Likely observing the damage.  I hope they were also monitoring the cows.


Or it might have been sightseers.   Theres a small airport not far from there so that is always a possibility.  Given the crowd that was down there on foot, sightseeing seems to be a new sport as everyone wants to be a part of seeing the disaster unfold.  Many of those at the flats actually walked down that road with beer bottles in their hands and children in tow.  Our girls seemed more interested in worm hunting than seeing the river.

And the devastation is not limited to just here.  It breaks my heart to think that the two trails I have run the past two weekends are under water.  I'm betting it will be a while before they return to the state they used to be in.  In fact - it will be a long time before any of the pathways I frequent are ready to see running shoes.

Canmore and Banff are in disarray.  The highways are affected by wash outs and mudslides.  The runner in me has listened with heartbreak as Banff Marathon and Rundle's Revenge were cancelled.  The roads are what really worry us, though.  Tonight, hubby and I had to make a tough decision - to cancel our trip to Vancouver next week.  I am so sad.  Not only will I be missing out on seeing my dear friend from Brazil and my best friend from high school and visiting my brother and his family in Kelowna on the way - I will also miss seeing my Vancouver bloggy friends.  Our plans to climb Grouse Grind together get to go on hiatus until next year when my next trip is planned.  Ultimately - with this flood still in it's early stages, we have no clue how those roads will look in a week.  Whether they will even be open or in good enough repair to traverse...or whether they will end up doubling or tripling our travel time.

Instead - I think I will use my vacation time for a better cause.  To help Calgary clean up.  With any luck, the flood waters will recede next week and every available hand will be needed to help this city come back.  If I can use my vacation to help that happen - I can't think of anything I'd rather do.

So that is my rambling thoughts on today.  Sheesh - I can't believe this has only been one day.  And the longest day of the year, at that.  It sure felt like it.



7 comments:

  1. Wow Cori, I don't even know what I could possibly say that would help. Just know I'm thinking of you guys and so very glad you and your friends are alright. You've shown me so many times how strong you are, this is just another one of those times. Hang in there. Hugs.

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    1. Thanks Nik. Today is a new day and the sun is shining here. We can't help but start to believe things are going to be ok.

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  2. I'm still processing the whole thing. It's so weird to be here in our home, essentially living normally, and a few miles away is a complete disaster, with 10% of the city displaced. I want to help, but doing what? Doing almost anything but staying out of the way just now just risks becoming a burden on the emergency services. I'm sure there will be a time when the City has assessed the damage and come up with a plan, and they'll need all the hands they can get.

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    1. I agree. I went over to yychelps.ca to sign up to volunteer that week. I really hope it is a viable database of people hey are collecting. If I don't hear back, I'll likely contact the Weaselhead conservation people to volunteer directly. Or I'll pull up one of my contacts in Fish Creek and see what I can do there. I feel very helpless sitting here in Langdon.

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  3. Stay safe! So sad to hear the zoo is under water. I have been there a couple of times and always enjoyed it. Hope the flooding improves soon!

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  4. Finally home!! What a mess...my area is so dirty and mucky. But getting cleaned up. My neighourhood is so much better than many tho! I am finally home and am back online...yay for power (thank goodness that is all I lost)...will post something soo

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  5. This is so devastating. I am so frustrated with the people that are not complying with the evacuation orders or the "tourists" checking out the damage.

    I'm sorry to hear you decided to cancel your trip. I can't even imagine what the roads are going to be like this long weekend- there is going to be a lot of delays for sure.

    Wow- I didn't even put two and two together about your friends wedding being this weekend! How stressful to have to switch everything around with only a couple days notice. Hopefully that will be a testament to the strength of their marriage.

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