Yesterday, here in Calgary Alberta, we got the warning that major rain was coming. Up to 100 mm of rain (about 4 inches) predicted for the city, much more in the foothills just an hour or so to the west.
Today, the effects are hitting big time. For the last few hours, our local 24/7 news AM radio station has been on flood news, solid. Here's what is going on:
More than a dozen communities within the city limits have been evacuated, or are under orders to evacuate before midnight. As many as 100,000 people are affected by these orders. Two rivers, which pass through the city including downtown, are cresting and expected to overflow overnight. A number of low-lying areas have already flooded. The dam that holds the city reservoir is expected to breach overnight. While at the moment the rain has stopped within the city, more rain is expected to come. However, it is still downpouring buckets upstream, feeding the rivers which are carrying all that water inward.
Quite a few road closures are already affecting major arteries, and ramps to and from highways. Traffic everywhere is a mess.
Further west, the city of Canmore, about an hour's drive from Calgary, has been cut off as roads are flooded. Between Canmore and Banff further west, a major tourist destination, the Trans-Canada highway is closed in sections. Banff itself is on alert/standby; residents are being told to stay put.
In the town of High River, just south of Calgary, about 150 people are stranded on the roofs of their homes, waiting for rescue. The local hospital is closed.
Personally, I'm fine. My neighbourhood is high and dry, situated on the upside of a hilly area. Most of the city lies below us.
This event is far from over, and the worst may hit overnight. Even though, as I look out my windows now, the sun is partly out, the streets are dry, and everything looks like we just had a normal rain. But what's happening here is far from normal.