The whole world will now have seen the dreadful pictures from Calgary which has experienced severe flooding. At least three people have been killed and more than a 100,000 forced to flee their homes as floods triggered by torrential rain hit Western Canada. Officials have ordered the evacuation of the centre of Calgary, Alberta, after both rivers that flow through it, the Bow and Elbow, overflowed. The floods have washed away roads and bridges, cut-off electricity and submerged hundreds of homes. Some 25 neighbourhoods in Calgary, a city of one million, had already been evacuated. The mountain resorts of Banff and Canmore were left isolated after the Trans-Canada Highway was closed. The Saddledome, home to Calgary’s professional hockey team, is also flooded with water levels rising to the stadium’s 10th row. The floods come after a rainy week in Alberta, capped by 4in (10cm) of downpour on Thursday. Our own Jude Smith is in Calgary and was the environmental auditor for the the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival – which had already started when the rains hit.
Jude let us know “I am safe and sound but stranded in Calgary. The town where I live has been flooded in parts but our house is safe” saying that he hadn’t heard from the festival organisers but understandably they were busy with other things and their own office had been closed by the floods. It was slated to wrap up on Saturday with a concert at Olympic Plaza “Our commitment to the safety of the citizens of Calgary remains paramount. Please take care of your friends and family who may require assistance and stay safe,” according to the Sled Island website. Other cancelled events include the Banff Marathon, First Street Market Walk, Go Skateboarding Day, Wing Kei Walkathon, Allied Memorial Remembrance Ride, Remington Race for Pace 2013, Aboriginal Awareness Week and the Enbridge Ride To Conquer Cancer.
Jude had already seen some good things at the event, with a real push to promote cycling, but the event was cancelled yesterday (Friday) and Jude’s last email was “I am stranded as the roads home are all closed!!! I think I’ll go to watch a movie!” but more poignantly ” it’s an interesting extreme weather event, part if climate change I think. I wonder whether the tar sands folk from Calgary will take note, maybe they will decide to cancel the Keystone pipeline as a result…”.
More information on water saferty, power outages, evacuation orders, shelters, road closures, and hospitals here