Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The flooding is over in Alberta now but the aftermath is quite distressing.  It'll be months before things are back to normal throughout the province.  This month's flooding is the worst in Alberta's history, with many thousands of people still out of their homes, many who don't have homes to go back to anymore.  The estimated cost of clean-up and property damages tops $5,000,000,000...that's five Billion...dollars.  Stretches of major highways have disappeared and need to be rebuilt, downtown Calgary will be a long time digging out from under the mud and sludge brought by the Bow River thundering through the streets. Many, many volunteers have come forward to help with the massive clean-up and Calgarians vow that the annual Calgary Stampede will go ahead as planned in a couple of weeks in spite of the stampede grounds sitting in the middle of all the water and mud and mess.  Albertans are nothing if not resilient.

With the North Saskatchewan River rising in Edmonton, we were under a flood warning, but it abated.  Then two days later there was a huge downpour of rain all day which clogged the water drainage lines in the city so many streets were flooded that way, and the river rose enough to become a major issue. For the most part, Edmonton was lucky and came out of the flood situation better than most.

Two days before yesterday's rain, Lloyd and I went out to see just how much the river had risen.  It turned out to be a lovely day.

Our first stop was a local off-leash park for dogs and their owners.  We didn't have a dog but we knew it was right on the river so we wanted to have a look.

This sign had been put up while it was still on dry ground.

The river flooding created a little calm cove where some dogs enjoyed swimming.
We made friends with the white retriever named Layla and her owner.

Edmonton has a beautiful river valley with a number of bridges spanning it.  This is
one of the newest.  It was built for or rapid transit trains to carry people from the
north side of town to the south.  The blue part underneath is a pedestrian lane.  That's
where Lloyd and I went to take pictures.

Lloyd is becoming the photographer of the family but I haven't figured out how to
get  his pictures from his iPhone to my PC.  It's a shame because his are actually
better than mine.  We've never walked across the river before so this was an
especially fun thing for us to do.  The river below us was flowing quite rapidly and
contained trees and other debris from the flooding further north.

This is looking on the south side of the river.  

The old and the new.  The bridge on the left is the High Level bridge, over
a hundred years old...a very busy traffic bridge.  The one on the right is the one
we were on, one of the newest bridges, the Dudley B. Menzies bridge, built in 1989
for LRT and foot traffic.

You can see how far over its banks the North Saskatchewan River
is here.

From our vantage point downtown, far above the river, we were able to see
the Edmonton Queen, our city's riverboat, complete with water paddle.  It's used
for special events and groups can rent it for parties, receptions, etc.  It is
safely tied up at the river bank in anticipation of the rising waters.

The next day Lloyd and I headed down to Lethbridge again.  Remember in my last post when I said that two of the bridges we would have used to get home were flooded so we had to be detoured through Calgary?  Well this is the one we usually take, at Carseland.  The water receeded rapidly and it's hard to imagine that it was completely under water at the height of the flooding.  In all the years we've crossed the bridge, we've never seen the Bow River without dry sandbars down the middle of it. There was no sign of dry anything there on Sunday.
The Carseland Bridge over the Bow River.  It was the Bow River that was
responsible for all of the destruction in Calgary, Bragg Creek, High River and Canmore/Banff.
The town of High River, by the way, is a disaster area.  It is completely evacuated
and will be awhile before residents are allowed in. They've lost
everything and there's still no power or water facilities.  I guess it's called
High River for a reason.

We stopped to look around at Carseland.  The river in the background had risen beyond the
point here where I'm taking the picture.

This farm was badly hit by the water.  You can see where a portion of his
grassland was washed away.

Downed trees were scattered like toothpicks along the ground.
It's hard to imagine all the damage that was done over the space of 24 hours.  Clean-up is well under way now and the human spirit is reasserting itself, a bit bruised, and a lot humbled by the force of nature.

And that's all I'm going to post about Alberta's floods.  Happier stuff next time.



Water can be mighty and destructive when it wants to be. I was not aware of all the flooding in your region. So sad to see the damage it brought. But beautiful to look at the water from a different perspective.

RoeH said...


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm thankful that you escaped the flooding for the most part. It is devastating to see all the damage. We cannot control the weather for sure.

Mickey said...

The flooding has been monumental this year. You can't avoid it. The warmth of the human spirit during it all brings tears to my eyes. Such wonderful things are happening and we hear different things everyday. Knowing people who are having to re locate and have lost everything is pretty devastating. Happier times ahead for sure.