Monday, June 24, 2013

The "Great Flood" - Alberta Flooding 2013

As many of you know a majority of Alberta was absolutely rocked by flood waters over the past few days. As the water begins to recede, mud and debris is left to deal with. Thousands are still displaced as evacuation orders are slowly being lifted and power is turned back on. Many lost their homes, their animals, and some paid the price of their lives. It is an absolutely devastating tragedy and my heart breaks for my province, and my community.

Images have been pouring out of Calgary, and communities throughout southern alberta of the absolute devastation that the flood waters have caused...

A shot showing the amount of water that raged through the downtown core from Thursday through until now...

High River, a town just 30 minutes south of Calgary was absolutely destroyed. This shows their mainstreet, fans of the show "Heartland" will recognize Maggie's Diner on the right hand side. High River is still now allowing people to return to their homes due to the structural danger that the water has created.

Calgary (and Alberta), in true Calgarian fashion is rallying together to help those affected by the flood. Volunteers are pouring out of the woodwork to help, and people canada-wide are donating and coming to alberta to help in this situation. Today Alison Redford commented that it may take up to 10 years, and over a billion dollars for the province to recover. It is absolute insanity. 
Tragedy is tragedy anywhere it is, it's breaking my heart that so many people, places and animals that I know and love are being displaced and watching their homes be ruined by this flood. It doesn't matter who you are and where you live, loosing a home is still a heart-wrenching and debilitating experience. My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone in Alberta at this time, although I know we are a fortunate and lucky province, it doesn't make this devastation any easier to take.
I posted this as my Facebook status on Friday, and it still sums up much of what I am feeling.

Personally, I was very lucky and unaffected by the flood. My house, and community, in southeast Calgary was un-touched. However, Thursday was a tense day for us as we watched videos like this...

This is probably less 5 km away from my barn, in the Hamlet of Bragg Creek. The amount of nights we've spent in Bragg after long rides are countless, and it is shocking to see such devastation in an area you know some intimately. I can't even begin to fathom how those that live in these towns are feeling. Thankfully, my barn, which has a small creek running through it but isn't close to some of the major river systems, remained out of the evacuation order. Both of our arenas, and the front lawn of our barn were very flooded, the buildings remain structurally sound and none of the horses were at all effected by the flood. Still, even in an area barely effected you can see the signs of flooding... dirt and gravel from our parking lot is now eerily moved closer to the barn, a large pool of stagnant water sits in the centre of our indoor arena, the trailer area is now a lake, the ditches along the road we used to ride in are completely full and moving fast, and sometimes pooling over onto the road.. it is surreal.

I know that many horses, and people and barns in the horse community, were not as lucky as we were. In speaking with a vet today, he said that he thinks it'll still be a few days before they begin getting calls of horses hurt in the flood. Many people were forced to let their horses free and cut down their fences as they fleed their own homes, hoping the horses would survive. Many of those people have still not been allowed home, and so their horses still have yet to be located.

Finally, as it always is in Calgary, the Calgary Stampede is a hot topic on everyone's minds...

This was the state of affairs at the infield...

The Saddledome has reports of being 14 rows under water, meaning that all the Calgary Flames dressing rooms were completely submerged, as well as storage areas, hallways filled with priceless memorabilia, and the Jumbotron control room, which has millions worth of of technology in it.

The Calgary Stampede released this ad... which I think is brilliant and terrific...

The Stampede has pledged that it will go on, despite the huge damage to the grounds, buildings, barns, etc. Everyone I talked to seems split down the middle about whether or not this is a good thing. However, I think that not only will the Stampede stand as a symbol of Calgary being able to rally against insurmountable odds, it will also be a good thing for the economy. Downtown is still, for the most part, shut down. Also canceling the Stampede would be an absolute blow to the Calgary economy, which thrives on the Stampede for ten days. I got wind today that we (Ranch Girls) will not be performing at a rodeo that was scheduled on the grounds this upcoming Friday, and that the rodeo area is being inspected now to see what has to be done.

If I have truly learned one thing through all of this, is how devastating water truly is. The mud, debris, and mould left behind is unbelievable, and the structural integrity of so many buildings is now questionable. It seems at times that Mother nature is man's most formidable opponent. However, the good that is shining through all of this is how truly amazing and kind the people of Alberta are, and how, together, we'll be able to patch up our city and go forth as planned. The Calgary police service, the city, fire and EMS have shown how strong and united they can be in grave situations. Our Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, literally stayed awake for days on end as he reported the situation to the world. How wonderful to see when other Mayors in Canada are stepping down due to drug scandals and fraud claims. People are moving rapidly to donate and help their friends, families, neighbors, and people they've never before met. It's a beautiful thing to watch a City rise up from and against the mud and debris left by this terrible catastrophe.


  1. I was actually just thinking about you the other day, wondering if you were ok. I am glad to hear that you are but am so sad about the folks who aren't. Between fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornado's, this is turning out to be a devastating summer all the way around.

  2. So glad to hear you are okay. I can't even imagine the devastation, all I know is what I've been seeing on the news. I have no idea how on earth people relocated all their horses and livestock. Sending helpful vibes your way and looking forward to another stampede.

  3. Thanks ladies. I would have to agree with you Cindy, mother nature has been unleashing some serious wrath around the world... it's devastating.

  4. Sure was a mess wasnt it? glad you are ok and so is your barn, water sure makes a mess, specially with all the mud left behind.