Friday, June 21, 2013

Flooding in Southern Alberta

Admittedly, I do bang on about the weather a lot on this blog. Alberta is so interesting you see - some of the most variable weather there is.

Today I have a legitimate reason to waffle on.  You may have seen some news footage about flooding in southern Alberta. Well yes, it has been a bit damp.

I live in a small town about 25km northwest of Calgary - and the Bow River runs through my town of Cochrane.  There are a lot of rivers criss-crossing this area, many fed at this time of year by the snow-melt off the Rockies.  Now let's add several day's worth of torrential rain.  It ain't pretty.
A month ago, my view over the river looked like this.
Yesterday it looked like this.
And this afternoon, it looks like this.
 There's a island under that lot somewhere.
The rail line needs a tidy up, from mudslides.

And the drains under the rail line are barely keeping up with flow coming off the hills around the town.
Poor old Canmore (about 45 minutes west of us) got hit hard. Raging waters and mudslides.  The TransCanada Highway has been shut since yesterday morning, effectively cutting off Canmore and Banff.
Photo courtesy of CBC website and John Gibson/Getty images.
There has been some startling footage showing the immense pressure and volume of the coursing waters.  What was once a creek became a gushing torrent of filthy muddy water, tearing through gardens, decks and houses in its powerful rage through the town.

Photo courtesy of Justin Kripps @ twitter
Downtown Calgary is another muddy mess.  Evacuations of some 75,000+ people began yesterday.  The Stampede grounds (which are due to host the Calgary Stampede in two weeks) have been flooded.  
Photo courtesy of Jeff McIntosh/Canadia Press
Even the Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames hockey is apparently flooded inside, up to at least row 10 in the seating!

Colleagues from work have suffered terrible damage - one poor girl almost hysterical this morning as her whole home was filled with water, and others evacuated from downtown apartment blocks as main thoroughfares were under several feet of water.

And as I type, it is still pouring with rain - the roads are gushing mini rivers too - which all flows downhill back to the raging Bow River below.

It's gonna be messy for a while.


  1. My heart goes out to everyone in southern Alberta. We have friends in Calgary and Canmore -- the Canmore ones have not been evacuated so far, but haven't heard from the Calgary ones so maybe they're staying elsewhere by now. I hope Cochrane's flooding doesn't get too much worse although I know there's still more rain forecast for the mountains. Oh oh.

    This flooding came on so fast! When I lived in Winnipeg, there was often flood danger in the spring but you could see it coming up from North Dakota DAYS and DAYS in advance so there was time to sandbag and open the floodway. I guess the speed of flooding is the difference between the flat prairies and the foothills/mountains.

    1. Hi Deb, yep, I think it was the speed of the rise in water levels that caught everyone out, no-one anticipated this much, this quickly. Hope your friends are ok.

  2. I've been watching the news and looking at all the pictures online. I have so many fond memories of our time in Calgary, and seeing our old neighbourhoods looking like they do right now is darned-near traumatic for me. The idea of the Stampede possibly not happening is just unreal. Stay indoors if you can manage it. I really hope the rain stops soon!

    1. I can't even get my head around how much mess there will be to clear up but I can't imagine anyone cancelling or postponing the Stampede!

  3. I hope it improves very soon. It must be quite frightening to be cut off from the rest of civilisation.

  4. We heard about those floods here in Australia too. Our town narrowly missed major flooding in January. Hope things are being cleaned up and repaired as quickly as possible.