The Flood

Day One

Safeway in Mission, closed and evacuated. City of Calgary Roads is constructing an earthen berm berm on the opposite side of the parking lot. Individual unknown.

Safeway in Mission, closed and evacuated. City of Calgary Roads is constructing an earthen berm berm on the opposite side of the parking lot. Individual unknown.

Bridge to Rideau Road, Elbow River pathway. The man in the blue windbreaker was following his typical route home. He told me he lived on the hill and assured he'd be safe. (See: Saturday PM)

Bridge to Rideau Road, Elbow River pathway. The man in the blue windbreaker was following his typical route home. He told me he lived on the hill and assured he'd be safe. (See: Saturday PM)

Elbow River pathway at the bridge to Rideau Road. Peak flow is expected in twelve hours.

Mission. Workers rush to build an earthen berm in the same location as the flood of 2005. A City of Calgary Roads worker told me they had 25 dumptrucks on the job, working in constant rotation at this location—similar setups were in operation around the downtown core.

Mission. Workers rush to build an earthen berm in the same location as the flood of 2005. A City of Calgary Roads worker told me they had 25 dumptrucks on the job, working in constant rotation at this location—similar setups were in operation around the downtown core.

Waters rising against the 4th Street Bridge. Peak flow is expected in twelve hours.

Waters rising against the 4th Street Bridge. Peak flow is expected in twelve hours.

Wurst. Closed for business within the Mission evacuation zone.

Wurst. Closed for business within the Mission evacuation zone.

Pedestrians watch the rising waters along the Elbow River Pathway and Rideau Park. (See: Saturday PM)

Pedestrians watch the rising waters along the Elbow River Pathway and Rideau Park. (See: Saturday PM)

Opposite Sandy Beach.

Opposite Sandy Beach.

Opposite Sandy Beach in Britannia.

Opposite Sandy Beach in Britannia.

Riverdale Avenue homes. Very much a ghost town. The river is visible in this home's back yard.

Riverdale Avenue homes. Very much a ghost town. The river is visible in this home's back yard.

Riverdale Avenue homes.

Riverdale Avenue homes.

Ferrari California, high and dry. The streets up and out of the evac zones were littered with cars—some quite indicative of the real estate values at risk.

Ferrari California, high and dry. The streets up and out of the evac zones were littered with cars—some quite indicative of the real estate values at risk.

Lougheed Gardens, 1 pm. Approximately an hour before word of mandatory evacuations came through.

Crestview Road SW.

Water sheeting on Crestview Road SW.

The Elbow River at it's banks. Many of my familiar running trails and shortcuts were inundated with water, forcing me to backtrack into the brush.

The Elbow River at it's banks. Many of my familiar running trails and shortcuts were inundated with water, forcing me to backtrack into the brush.


Day Two: AM. 

(Prefer to start at the beginning?) 

 

Sifton Road. Elbow Park. The river has breached it's banks and engulfed Sifton Road. The current was strong and fast.

Sifton Road. Elbow Park. The river has breached it's banks and engulfed Sifton Road. The current was strong and fast.

Some of the Riverdale homes I photographed yesterday are under water. Elbow River from Sifton Road.

Some of the Riverdale homes I photographed yesterday are under water. Elbow River from Sifton Road.

First responders. Elbow Park.

Locals surveying their homes. Shortly hereafter I ran into a coworker—her basement is flooded chest deep and she fears for her home. 38th Avenue SW and 7A Street.

Locals surveying their homes. 38th Avenue SW and 7A Street.

Locals surveying their homes. 38th Avenue SW and 7A Street.

These three had been another block up. They reported a fire truck had been swamped and stuck in the water. 38th Avenue and 7 Street SW. Elbow Park.

These three had been another block up. They reported a fire truck had been swamped and stuck in the water. 38th Avenue and 7 Street SW. Elbow Park.

38th Avenue and 7 Street SW.

38th Avenue and 7 Street SW.

38th Avenue and 7 Street SW. iPhone 4S.

38th Avenue and 7 Street SW. iPhone 4S.

The current flowing down the road was fast enough and deep enough I was reluctant to cross the street. 3700 block 7 Street SW. Elbow Park.

The current flowing down the road was fast enough and deep enough I was reluctant to cross the street. 3700 block 7 Street SW. Elbow Park.

The current flowing down the road was fast enough and deep enough I was reluctant to cross the street. 3700 block 7 Street SW.

Swamped and abandoned VW Golf. 3700 block 7 Street SW.

Telus employees at the switching station, set up for the long-haul. 34 Avenue at 7A Street. 

Telus employees at the switching station, set up for the long-haul. 34 Avenue at 7A Street. 

First responders and bystanders. 30 Ave at 7 Street SW.

First responders and bystanders. 30 Ave at 7 Street SW.

This couple had just come from up the street. 30 Ave at 7 Street SW.

This couple had just come from up the street. 30 Ave at 7 Street SW.

Air bubbling up  from the garage door and under the driveway. Standing in their driveway, the water was nearly knee deep here. 3000 block 7 Street SW.

The side-yard of the same home. My only dry exit was through the scrub brush and tall grasses on the hillside. 3000 block 7 Street SW. Elbow Park.

Locals survey the neighbourhood around the Glencoe Club. 3000 block 7 Street SW.

Locals survey the neighbourhood around the Glencoe Club. 3000 block 7 Street SW.


Day Two: PM. 

(Prefer to start at the beginning?)

A pedestrian walks in the evacuation zone on the east side of downtown. Centre Street at 14 Ave SW, facing the Stampede Grounds.

A pedestrian walks in the evacuation zone on the east side of downtown. Centre Street at 14 Ave SW, facing the Stampede Grounds.

Sightseers. Centre Street at 15 Ave SW, facing the Stampede Grounds. Around the corner, a car was swamped; much debris had accumulated around it in the heavy, northbound current.

Sightseers. Centre Street at 15 Ave SW, facing the Stampede Grounds. Around the corner, a car was swamped; much debris had accumulated around it in the heavy, northbound current.

Sightseers. Under the 10th Street LRT bridge. Bow River.

Sightseers. Under the 10th Street LRT bridge. Bow River.

Peace Bridge. Well guarded from sightseers and photo-opportunists (myself included).

Peace Bridge. Well guarded from sightseers and photo-opportunists (myself included).

Peace Bridge.

Peace Bridge. And some slight indication of the throng taking disaster-selfies.

Sightseers posing for portraits. The bridge-deck to Lindsay Park has been overtopped, but appears intact. 21 Avenue at 2 Street SW. Mission.

Sightseers posing for portraits. The bridge-deck to Lindsay Park has been overtopped, but appears intact. 21 Avenue at 2 Street SW. Mission.

Holy Cross Lane at 1st Street SW. I was trying to get to a friend's place to check on things but had to turn back. The water was moving with some strength here and was unsafe to cross. Mission.

The dry side of the berm. The view from yesterday is now somewhere in the middle of the Elbow River. Speaking with a Roads employee, a number of people have found their way onto the unstable berm. In the time we were there, two individuals with a dog sauntered past. Mission.

Elbow Park from above the Glencoe Club. This is the neighbourhood I waded through this morning. The river, moving fast, is visible along Elbow Drive two blocks into the background. A friend has family down there.

Elbow Park from above the Glencoe Club. This is the neighbourhood I waded through this morning. The river, moving fast, is visible along Elbow Drive two blocks into the background. A friend has family down there.

The iconic Centre Street Bridge. I wasn't feeling too well about the young guy on the lower deck trying to get a photo of the torrent.

The iconic Centre Street Bridge. I wasn't feeling too well about the young guy on the lower deck trying to get a photo of the torrent.

Waterfront Towers. 222 Riverfront Ave. Phase 3 promises "more river." Thanks.

Directing traffic. What little there was. Many of the traffic lights are out downtown, along with the power—cut after evacuation. 2 Avenue SW at 4 Street SW.

Shaw parkade. Sandbagged. 2 Avenue SW at 5 Street SW.

Evacuation notice. 5 Street SW at 15 Avenue.

Evacuation notice. 5 Street SW at 15 Avenue.


Day Three: AM. 

(Prefer to start at the beginning?)

Pedestrians observe the remains of the Rideau Park footbridge. A far cry from how it looked Thursday.

Pedestrians observe the remains of the Rideau Park footbridge. A far cry from how it looked Thursday.

Flooded homes and the remains of the footbridge on the banks of the Elbow River. (See: Thursday)

Flooded homes and the remains of the footbridge on the banks of the Elbow River. (See: Thursday)

The berm, river-side. Mission.

The berm, river-side. Mission.

Silt on Elbow Drive.

Elbow Drive.

A line shows flooding flooding extended several blocks from the river at Glencoe Road SW. Elbow Park.

A line shows flooding flooding extended several blocks from the river at Glencoe Road SW. Elbow Park.

A flood-damaged BMW at the intersection of 38th Ave and 5th St. Elbow Park. A homeowner around the corner tells me last night the water was to the top of the wheel arches.

A flood-damaged BMW at the intersection of 38th Ave and 5th St. Elbow Park. A homeowner around the corner tells me last night the water was to the top of the wheel arches.

East Elbow. 5 Street at 39th Ave. The waters were knee-deep.

East Elbow. 5 Street at 39th Ave. The waters were knee-deep.

A half block further south on 5 Street and the waters were now waist deep. East Elbow Park.

A half block further south on 5 Street and the waters were now waist deep. East Elbow Park.

The current was pulling hard to the east, downstream. Waters visibly lowered while I was in the vicinity. A line on the garage door shows peak height was to the top of the fence. East Elbow.

The current was pulling hard to the east, downstream. Waters visibly lowered while I was in the vicinity. A line on the garage door shows peak height was to the top of the fence. East Elbow.

A driver retreats from waist-high waters. I had a heartbreaking conversation with a homeowner that had just returned moments before this. The waters having receded about 2', much of the playground to my left lie completely submerged. I wasn't comfortable travelling further east up this street.

A driver retreats from waist-high waters. I had a heartbreaking conversation with a homeowner that had just returned moments before this. The waters having receded about 2', much of the playground to my left lie completely submerged. I wasn't comfortable travelling further east up this street.

Homeowners return carrying generators and pumps. East Elbow.

Homeowners return to asses the damage. The house to my left had only had water to the first step; the underground garage and basement remained visibly flooded to approximately 6'

Pedestrians stop to photograph the footbridge on Sifton Boulevard.

Pedestrians stop to photograph the footbridge on Sifton Boulevard.

The footbridge spanning the Elbow River at Sifton Boulevard.

The footbridge spanning the Elbow River at Sifton Boulevard.

The Elbow River at Riverdale Park. Not much remains of the footbridge at Sandy Beach.

The Elbow River at Riverdale Park. Not much remains of the footbridge at Sandy Beach.

My closest possible approach to Sandy Beach. The picnic area at the base of the stairs.

My closest possible approach to Sandy Beach. The picnic area at the base of the stairs.


Day Three: PM.  

(Prefer to start at the beginning?)

Though I am not a pro, I take photography very seriously, and have a great respect for journalism and journalists. Photojournalism, in a way, is the family business—as such, I try to follow the NPPA Code of Ethics with regard to my pictures. Item #4—effectively ‘do no harm’— means I took fewer photos today. Calgary, and the people affected, need time to heal.

I encourage those that are local to do what they can, within their means. @yychelps and the Canadian Red Cross are fantastic places to start. Though the waters have receded, the need is real.

 

‘GAS NEEDED. ELECTRICITY NEEDED.’ The city asked that we list utilities required, visible from the street, as City inspectors and utilities representatives walked house-to-house in affected neighbourhoods. 7 Street. Elbow Park.

‘GAS NEEDED. ELECTRICITY NEEDED.’ The city asked that we list utilities required, visible from the street, as City inspectors and utilities representatives walked house-to-house in affected neighbourhoods. 7 Street. Elbow Park.

Homeowners begin the cleanup of flooded homes in Elbow Park.

Homeowners begin the cleanup of flooded homes in Elbow Park.

The remains of a flooded basement in Elbow Park.

The remains of a flooded basement in Elbow Park.

Army radio corps. A new accessory in my neighbourhood.

Army radio corps. A new accessory in my neighbourhood.


Day Three: Evening. 

(Prefer to start at the beginning?) 

 

Olympic Plaza, within the downtown evacuation zone, with stage setting for the flood-cancelled Sled Island music festival.

Olympic Plaza, within the downtown evacuation zone, with stage setting for the flood-cancelled Sled Island music festival.

Recovery efforts at the new 4th Street underpass and District Energy substation.

Recovery efforts at the new 4th Street underpass and District Energy substation.

Flood Damaged vehicles in the Calgary Police Association parking lot. Downtown.

Silt remains in the Calgary Police Association parking lot.

Sunset in Chinatown.

Sunset in Chinatown.

Sunset over the Centre Street Bridge. A downed tree, swept in by the current, lies in the foreground.

Sunset over the Centre Street Bridge. A downed tree, swept in by the current, lies in the foreground.


Day Four. 

No photos. Sometimes I need to lay the camera down and pitch in.

I've been deeply conflicted about taking pictures of people in their time of grief; you may notice among my pictures many faces are obscured, or turned away—I've specifically chosen as many unidentifiable photos as possible.


Day Five. 

(Prefer to start at the beginning?) 

Fewer photos again, today. I lent my hand to the cleanup in Bowness. Never in my life have I seen anything quite like this neighbourhood now. 

The interior of a car on Bow Crescent. Bowness.

The interior of a car on Bow Crescent. Bowness.

Residents and volunteers begin the process of cleaning up the remains of homes on Bow Crescent. At one home I visited, the highwater mark had breached 4'. Bowness.

 Bowwater Crescent. Bowness.

 Bow Crescent. Bowness.

 Bow Crescent. Bowness.

A jam of residents, volunteers and sightseers leaving the neighbourhood as night falls. Bowness.

I fear, after nearly a week submerged in water, sewage, silty mud and all else my beloved Redwings will never be the same. A comparatively minor trouble.

Residents and volunteers begin the process of cleaning up the remains of homes on Bow Crescent. Bowness.

Bow Crescent. Bowness. 

Volunteers leaving. Bow Crescent. Bowness. 


Day Six, Seven and Eight.

A small bakery in the 17th Avenue commercial district still without power.

A small bakery in the 17th Avenue commercial district still without power.

ENMAX crews restored the last of the power grid to the downtown core late Friday night, seven days from the beginning of the crisis. At this time, many individual buildings still require power and wait for additional attention.


The community of Elbow Park continues to clean damaged homes Friday evening.

The community of Elbow Park continues to clean damaged homes Friday evening.

 

With extensive flooding happening around southern Alberta, Calgary is beginning to see the waters rise at the confluence of the Elbow and the Bow rivers.

The City has declared a state of emergency forcing mandatory evacuations of 25 communities and up to 100,000 citizens, including many friends across the downtown core.

In these situations, once friends and family are taken care of, I'm never sure what to do—so I reach for my camera. I'll update this post as I collect more photos and stories.