Last night, I posted this diary about the rising waters in the city of Calgary, Alberta, and neighboring communities.
Today, the news is bad.
The Calgary Herald local newspaper has much more information.
- Heavy rain continues, especially in the Rocky Mountain foothills, an hour and more to the west of the city. The rain is melting the snow in the mountains, which runs down into the rivers, eventually finding its way into Calgary causing massive flooding. A climate expert has said that warm air from the south heading up into the Rockies, colliding with cooler air it finds there, has resulted in the massive dump of moisture from above. This is said to be consistent with symptoms of climate change.
- The city of Canmore, west of here and at the start of the foothills, remains cut off; roads and bridges in and out of the area are closed. Canmore has been hit hard, as it receives the brunt of the rainfall, plus the first rush of water flowing down from the mountains.
- The town of High River, south of Calgary, has suffered a major disaster. Many homes are said to have washed away completely as the swollen river has eaten the shore line and carried homes away. Last night, it is said that up to 150 people in High River were stranded on the roofs of their homes, and were rescued by military helicopters and boats.
- The Trans-Canada highway between Canmore and Banff is closed.
- Downtown Calgary is nearly but not completely cut off, as it is at the center of two rivers, and most bridges spanning the rivers are closed.
- Communities in the SouthEast quadrant of the city appear to be hardest hit, of those within the city limits.
- The Mission District of Calgary, just southeast of downtown, is under waist deep water on some low-lying streets.
- More than two dozen communities within the city have been under mandatory evacuation since yesterday afternoon.
- At the Calgary Zoo, situated in low-lying land near a river, animals have been moved to higher ground.
- The major arena here, known as the Saddledome,is flooded. Reports are that the playing surface, and seats all the way up to Row 10, are under water. The players' dressing rooms, and electronics control room, are essentially destroyed.
- So far, there has been no loss of life reported that I can find. Thankfully.
- Property damage is going to be huge.
"Virtually everything downtown is under water"
"Flooding has reached the 14th row of the Saddledome"
"City doesn't foresee drinking water issue"
"Water levels in both rivers are expected to remain extremely high for several days"
"Still could see significant increase in flow in Bow River"
RCMP report 4 casualties in the High River area. Bodies were seen floating, but have not been recovered. Sad news.
Calgary Police Force Twitter account had been frozen today. Apparently this is like an auto-ban, that happens when an account issues more than 1,000 tweets in a short period of time. They are now back online.
Environment Canada's Bow Valley weather station reports 190 mm (7.5 inches) of rain for the 60 hours prior to 11AM today. Rain continues, heavy in some areas, and is expected to continue through Tuesday.
At 5PM today, just over an hour from now, the entire downtown core will be closed to all but local traffic. Underground garages are receiving water, as well as many ground-level floors.
Some time this afternoon, Deerfoot Trail, a major north-south artery in the city's east end, is expected to be closed. Water levels are creeping closer to the road bed and have not yet peaked.
Silt and debris reaching the city's water treatment plants are straining the water processing capacity. Drinking water is still safe, but the strain is reducing output. The city asks people to reduce tap water usage and avoid using dishwashers, laundry, etc. unless necessary.
The Prime Minister of Canada, who is from Calgary, has arrived here to survey the situation.
24 communities are currently in a declared state of emergency.
The Defense Department has deployed personnel to assist efforts in Camore and other locations.
River levels have not declined as anticipated.
The next city down the line, Medicine Hat, Alberta, is about to get hit. The rushing water overflowing the rivers in Calgary has to go somewhere, and it is headed downstream toward Medicine Hat. Mandatory evacuation has now been declared for 10,000 residents of "The Hat".