canada general

The Great Flood

The story of summer 2013 in Canmore wouldn’t be complete without telling the story of the Great Flood. No lives were lost, but we were cut off from the outside world for a few days, many houses were severely damaged (in an breathtakingly shocking sort of way) and many more suffered from backed up sewers and rising groundwater.

We went to sleep to heavy rain on the night of Wednesday 19th of June, and woke up to a town that had evacuation orders in place, and usually quiet and barely visible creeks were doing their best to express themselves as the alluvial fans they’d always wanted to be. Washouts to the east, west and south of town cut off all escape routes, and for a while, we were stuck.

Men in large yellow machinery worked like crazy, moving rocks around to save infrastructure and houses (and basically living out every small child’s dream, although probably with a lot more stress and lack of sleep involved). Meanwhile emergency flood hotlines were set up, people were desperate to volunteer, people who had been evacuated were desperate for somewhere to stay, and tourists who were stuck in town desperately wanted to leave.

A few days later Cougar Creek had settled down, but the Bow River and groundwater levels were both steadily rising. Thanks to Stoneworks Creek also going alluvial, there was some major flooding along Bow Valley Trail, Palliser and Silvertip areas. Cars trying to drive around in South Canmore would stall and get stuck in floodwater. The hospital was close to evacuation. Many residents along Cougar Creek had lost most (or even all) of their backyard, but some of them were able to return home.

A week later the state of emergency lapsed, and we were officially into recovery mode. Working hours began to return to normal. Alex was actually able to get to work again. But everyone still twitches nervously every time it rains.

A few photos from other people that capture the chaos…

After and before shots of the Trans-Canada Highway to the east of Canmore

Cougar Creek on the rampage

Cougar Creek at Benchlands Trail

Oh, and Rundle’s Revenge was supposed to be on June 22nd and 23rd, and was very definitely cancelled – so I was stuck doing an entirely different endurance event that weekend (127 phone calls on the Sunday!). I’ll have to wait until next year for the epic attempt to bike 100km and then run 50km the next day.

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