Canmore: State of Emergency

Bow Valley Road

So I am skipping our ride (Joshua & I) from Banff to Canmore at the moment to quickly address the current situation.

Many of you have probably seen on TV or through Facebook that Canmore, and other communities in Southern Alberta are in a state of emergency due to severe flooding.  It has been raining for over 48hr and is still coming down hard (in the last 60hr, 190mm).   I arrived in Canmore two days ago – and thankfully at that time made the decision to stay in the hostel rather than camp – if we had camped, we would have woken up floating in rainwater.     I had been debating whether or not to take a rest day in Canmore, but the decision was made for me when I woke up the first morning and found all roads leading East out of Canmore closed.  Cougar Creek was overflowing and raging onto the highway.  After hearing this, a group of us from the hostel headed out on a walk to see for ourselves what the situation was.   The roads were a fright.  Water was everywhere – there was indeed no way through.  Barrels and trees and lumber and other debris were shooting across the highway.  

Canmore road floodedWe walked on to have a look at the creek higher up – into the residential community of Cougar Creek.  We see that where the road parallels the creek, it has been eaten away to the yellow line.  The creek walls are falling in everywhere taking with it people’s porches.   As we are standing there a huge tree loses its footing and tumbles into the raging water.  We are told to move on, so we do.  Next we see a group of people helping a family move their belongings out of their house and across the road to a neighbours.  We jump in to help.   I walk into their kitchen and immediately I am overwhelmed with a sense of fear – right below the window is the river rushing by.  This is not good.  I, and maybe 20 other people are just grabbing anything we can and hauling it out.  After about 15minutes of this, we are told to stop by a fireman; it has gotten too dangerous.

We spend the rest of the day milling around the hostel.  My phone is in and out of service, and the wifi was down for most of the day (it is up now, thankfully).  One man at the hostel is a cook, so he volunteered to make us all a pasta dinner and we spent the evening watching the water levels rise and playing cards.    Although the hostel parking lot is filling with water, I do not think we are at risk of being evacuated – people’s cars are stuck in the parking lot – thats about as bad as it is for us.

This morning the rain is still coming down and it is forecast to keep raining all day and scattered showers over the weekend.  It seems I will be here for awhile!  I will keep you posted if anything new develops.

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Categories: Across Canada, Alberta, Biking

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