Friday, June 21, 2013

There are other things to worry about

Hi. We are fine. There are lots of people worse off than us here.

Our biggest worry today was getting a window installed, on a north facing wall, while it was raining. There was a four man crew. Let's just say they went to town and got'er done.

Other than that we are appalled and horrified at the flooding not far from here. I'm pretty sure the parking garage for the building I work in is full of water. They told me to stay home today, and it's not like that broke my heart. I was sort of planning it anyway. I'm actually going to be a little surprised if we are not told to stay home the beginning of the week as well.

When I say downtown is flooded, I'm not meaning the rain has built up on the streets and the gutters are full. I mean the buried parkades are full of water. The LRT tunnel behind city hall is full of water. The Saddledome is full of water up to row 14, and there is a tiny little event called the Calgary Stampede that is supposed to start in a couple of weeks. The rest of the Stampede grounds are under about a foot of water. As is much of down town. Some of the big electrical transformers are in danger of being flooded. The underpasses under the railway tracks are completely full.

I don't think any of the bridges over the bow river are open except to emergency vehicles. For some the bridge deck is under water. I saw a clip that said the bridges are fine because they're anchored to bedrock, and that's well and good. But if the soil supporting the nearby roadway is eroded away, there's going to be a problem. That appeared to be the case for north bound MacLeod Trail near the Earlton LRT station.

Bad as it is here, it's worse elsewhere. High River for example, and I'm not being facetious. There is actually a very nice little town about an hour south of here with that name. I saw a photo that looked like there was about 4 feet of water in the main street. The whole town is flooded. All of it. About 15,000 people have to go elsewhere.

If you can get to a house promptly after a flood there is stuff you can do to save it. But if it's been a couple days, especially if the water is up to the main floor, it becomes an insurance nightmare if it's cheaper or better to tear down and replace, or try to repair.

Many people have spoken of getting themselves, their families, and their pets out, and having to leave everything else behind. Some are lucky enough to bring things like essential paperwork, photographs, and other irreplaceable treasures. That still leaves a house full of soaking wet stuff to be dealt with. If you still have a house. Some have had their entire house swept away, which means that the plot of land it was on is gone too.

Think about that for a moment. There you are in an emergency shelter, knowing that everything you own is there with you. Not knowing what the insurance settlement, if any at all, will be. Some people don't even know if their house will be there. I can't imagine that, and I'm a person who was told as a child the house I lived in had burned down.

It's been raining pretty well all day, though it is nice at the moment. At some point, hopefully soon, the rivers will start receding and we can start putting our city back together. I'll be looking for a place to help out. Blogging and workouts might be sporadic.

There are times when one must focus on the essentials. Stay safe, try to stay dry.


  1. So glad to hear you're OK, Keith. I phoned my friend yesterday because it looked on the evacuation maps that she might by in a danger area - she's not and she, too, is fine. I am stunned by the pictures and video I see of Calgary, Canmore, High River, Bragg Creek. As you said, clean up will be a nightmare over and above the nightmare some people are living right now.

    Stay safe :)

    1. The evac maps are a bit odd, since the lines between neighbourhoods are a bit odd looking, and Calgary's elevation lines can be pretty dramatic at times. Some of them are going to be different when they get around to measuring them next.


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