I think the most surprising thing was just how fast it all came on. I was originally supposed to run in the K100 Kananaskis Relay Race on Saturday. Late Thursday morning, all was still normal; we heard something about high water levels in Canmore and the fact that Cougar Creek was running high. When I left work for squash around 4:30, there was a report that there was a mudslide on the Kananaskis highway. “But don't worry,” the K100 website reassured us, crews anticipated having the slide cleaned up by Saturday, and the race was still on. By the time the squash was over, and I was back online, not much later than 7:30, the world had Changed. 17 communities in Calgary had received mandatory evacuation notices, a dozen more towns and cities outside, the same. Those numbers would double within the next few hours. Travel inside the city was discouraged, and on the highways outside, banned, with road closures everywhere west of Calgary. The race, needless to say, had been canceled. Barely three hours, from normal to a disaster area. The river was rising fast enough to be seen by the naked eye.
Of all the things I will least forget, right at the top would be the speed of the onset.
On Sunday, life outside the valley was again close enough to normal that my friend Namrata's wedding was still on. Namrata, a Hindu, was getting married to Bryan, an Irish Mormon. One half of the wedding was held in saris and sherwanis, the other half in tartan. The reception was held in a former Pizza Hut. Any other week, such an event would have been all I could write about. Now it seems almost quotidian.
My friend mrputter's account of the flooding in Calgary.