Friday, June 21, 2013

feet touched nothing

I got an oil change today, which is the natural thing to do when your city is flooding. As I drove over the bridge to the dealership, I was shocked to see the normally mild and gentle Fish creek, which I usually don't even notice, racing beneath me, far too close to the bridge for my comfort. The fact that there was a bridge separating me from home did not stray far from my thoughts the entire time I was having that oil change.

I've been heeding official pleas to stay the hell out of the way, so my only views of the devastation wrought by the raging Bow and Elbow rivers have been via a screen, on Twitter, on Facebook, on newsfeeds. Still even our safe and dry enclave has pockets of flooding. The normally docile Fish Creek, although not churning and roaring like its bigger, meaner brothers, has swollen to ten times its normal size. I don't imagine that bridge in Fish Creek Park will be there very long.

The rivers crested today. Still, 27 neighbourhoods in my city have been evacuated, close to 100,000 people displaced. This situation is not going to be cleared up overnight. 

The downtown core is in darkness tonight, the power having been turned off. Water lapped at the corners of the building in which I work and seeped into the basement, threatening the rare instruments housed there. Many of the animals at the zoo have been relocated and, in a bright note in an otherwise grim day, we learned that the contingency plan for the big cats is to relocate them to holding cells in the court house. The Stampede grounds, set to be filled with rides, fried everything and thousands of people in a mere two weeks, was instead filled with water. The iconic Saddledome has water up to the 10th row of seats. I watched a heartbreaking video of a giant tree along Memorial Drive bending over, slowly and gracefully, until it snapped and was washed away by the raging river. Bridges have been breached and road closures are too numerous to count.

But at least the rain finally stopped. Let's see what happens during Day 3 of the flood.


Eugene Knapik said...

What a crazy natural event! I'm glad you have a dry spot in which to wait it out.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

We are very lucky, Eugene. Looks like we will not be going in to work for quite a while.

Allison said...

It's so surreal to see the coverage. I haven't watched a lot of it, but what I have seen was shocking.

I'm glad you guys are out of harms way. Hopefully the Hessels are too?

Dale said...

Such devastation. I'm glad you're okay!

John Mutford said...

The the above comments, we're glad you aren't directly affected. Still, I can't imagine the damage and clean up your city is going to face...

The McIlrath Family said...

It's the mud that I find most shocking. The mud and the idea of downtown Calgary in darkness.

I do have to smile when I think of the big cats in the holding cells down at the court house.

Wishing your city all the best in the clean up to come.

Anonymous said...

Every single thing you've spoken of I've watched on TV, with a tear in my eye. I can't imagine what it looks like up close.

What I'm mostly noticing though, is how people are amazing in times of trouble. How they rescue animals and band together as a team. Those stories really make my eyes swell.

Hang in there, Alberta. I'm passing along an easy donation option...Rogers/Fido users simply need text ABHELP to send $5. Not much, but if everyone sends $5, it'll be something.

(deb...forget how to log in here)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think the Hessels are on even higher ground than we are, Al, so all your Calgary peeps are safe and dry.

Thanks, Dale, we're pretty happy about it too!

It is going to be an enormous effort, John. Fortunately this city has an amazing volunteer spirit. It will get done.

I am shocked by the colour of the water, Marna, so thick and brown. And filled with cars and barbeques.

Bless you, Deb! How very kind of you to help! And yes, the citizens have been nothing short of amazing.

Vol-E said...

I'm proud of your city and mayor, and glad you weren't flooded out of your home.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thank you, Vol-E. I always knew this city had a can-do spirit, but the response is overwhelming.