So yeah, this picture? That’s downtown Calgary. Thankfully, I don’t live in downtown Calgary (or in any of the areas that got evacuated), but I do live in Calgary.
For those not in the loop (or those not in Canada), Southern Alberta has gotten a ridiculous amount of rain over the last week. When Mr. Char asked me if I’d built my ark earlier this week, I thought he was joking.
To put it another way, I’ve seen more rain in Calgary in the last week than I did the entire time I lived in Texas. In a town along the Gulf Coast — one that was decimated by Hurricane Ike back in 2008.
Yeah. It’s a lot of rain.
In fact, as I write this post, it is STILL raining. One of the city’s rivers has already crested (one of the actual rivers, not one of the makeshift street-rivers), and I would imagine the second has as well — or if it hasn’t it will shortly, and the local dam/reservoir has, to my knowledge, overflowed.
Too bad God wasn’t speaking to me earlier this week. (Or, um, ever, actually.) Also, it’s too bad I have no idea what the hell a cubit is.
Starting yesterday, huge swaths of the city were given mandatory flood evacuation orders. Those orders kept coming, and ended (I believe) sometime this morning. As of this point, at least 75,000 people in Calgary alone were booted from their homes. Some of the small towns surrounding the city have ended up under water. Some towns were evacuated in their entirety (for example, the town of Bragg Creek, about 44 km — please don’t ask me what that is in miles — west of Calgary, was completely evacuated and power to the town was shut off). Most of the town of High River is under water; enough water has collected to completely submerge vehicles. Boats are going around to rescue people stranded on rooftops.
There are only a few evacuation centres (only about 4, I think); the rest of the evacuees are being put up by friends, family, and random strangers who have opened up their homes.
It is, in a way, reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina. Only not, because we didn’t have gale force winds and mass destruction or anything like that. But as far as rainfall in a landlocked province goes, this is pretty much classified as “torrential rains.”
The mayor of Calgary is urging everyone to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave. I have NOT been evacuated. Mr. Char’s office was closed for the day, and everyone was sent home. So, for the time being, my family is at home, taking a movie (and writing) day. (I have never been happier to live at the top of the hill.)
But! For those who were evacuated — and for anyone who could possibly be evacuated for anything in the future — what do you pack? What do you take with you?
There are loads and loads of articles about this online. Any prepper worth their salt will have a Go Bag prepped and ready to go. If, however, you’re not a prepper, and you find yourself being evacuated, what do you do? Here’s a quick list (and note that it is NOT definitive):
Don’t panic. (Well, okay, maybe you can, but only a little bit and only in the beginning. Afterward, you’re really going to have to get your ass in gear because you’ve just lost valuable prepping time.)
Pack enough clothes for the length of the evacuation, plus a few days extra. For example, Calgary’s evac order is for 72 hours. So, pack clothes for a week, just in case.
Bring ALL prescription and necessary medication withyou. This is pretty self-explanatory.
Take all important documents. Passports, health/immunization records, driver’s license, SIN/SSN, birth certificates, blah blah blah. You never know when you’re going to need them.
Bring a first aid kit. Just in case.
Pack supplies (ie. food and water). Because you never know when you’re going to need them. And it’s always good to have supplies on you, especially when you’re evacuating and you don’t know when you’re going to be home.
Tell your neighbors you’re evacuating. That way someone knows. Also, officials here in Calgary told people to mark their doors with a giant “X” so that rescue personnel know your house is empty. That’s a good idea, too. (But that might leave your house open to looters/robbers if it gets to that point, so that’s a toss-up.)
Obviously, the above is not a complete list. If you’re being evacuated because of a flood, get important documents, pictures, etc out of the basement, or at least put them in waterproof containers. You never know what you’re going to come home to, and it might very well be a flooded basement.
To everyone in Calgary and Southern Alberta, stay safe!
And now for some pictures! (Note, I obviously didn’t take these pictures — every picture is credit to a source, usually to a news outlet. Click on the images to get to the original posts.)