Bow River Returning to Normal


Calgary Skyline Panorama

The raging waters of the Bow are subsiding leaving a city to clean up the mess.

This was the scene Tuesday night, June 25, in a panorama I took from a favourite spot overlooking the skyline of Calgary, a place where many news reports emanated from over the weekend.

It is amazing how fast the floodwaters have retreated. The Bow River is still very high and swift, and some parts of the valley are still under water, but the river is quickly returning to its normal channels and size.

Tonight, people were walking and hiking along paths and bridges that three days ago were underwater or closed to all traffic. Indeed, much of what is below me in this photo, including Memorial Drive, was covered with water. Riverside neighbourhoods that were lakes are now streets again, though lined with houses soaked and damaged. Construction crews work to shore up badly eroded banks. The floods have certainly changed the riverbed of the Bow.

And still, in the sky storms and rain continue to threaten. It will be months, if not years, before everything returns to a new normal.

– Alan, June 25, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

 

Floodwaters at Bow River Crossing


SIksika Nation and Bow River Flood Panorama #3

This is not a picture of the amazing sky but a document of what the sky can do when it decides to be merciless.

No one has seen anything like this in living memory, with homes under water and the river swollen to a lake engulfing the Bow River Valley.

These panoramas depict the heart of the Siksika First Nation, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. It was in this valley, where the Blackfoot had traditionally held their summer camps, that Treaty 7 was signed in 1877 between Chief Crowfoot and James Macleod of the NWMP. The history of the area is presented at the beautiful Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park interpretive centre, shown in the image below. We’ve held several popular public stargazing sessions there. It was closed today, ironically due to a lack of safe water.

SIksika Nation and Bow River Flood Panorama #1

It was here at this spot in the Bow River Valley that nomadic hunters could easily cross the river. Up to this weekend a bridge, seen in the distance in the image below, had allowed modern travellers to make the crossing. But no more. The bridge is closed and may never reopen, until it is rebuilt. Today, water was roaring just below the bridge deck. And waters have receded in the last 24 hours.

SIksika Nation and Bow River Flood Panorama #2

There is some fear that a ferry downstream, the Crowfoot Ferry, one of the last river ferries in Alberta, might break loose and crash into the Bassano Dam.

Dozens of homes are underwater and hundreds of people displaced to evacuation shelters. The water came up so fast many people had just minutes to get out.

SIksika Nation and Bow River Flood Panorama #4

Those I spoke to today, including one 68-year-old resident, said they have never seen the Bow flood as bad as this. The high waters, having breached the Carseland Dam upstream from here, are now heading downstream to fill the Bassano Dam and flood the lower Bow and South Saskatchewan River through Medicine Hat. As those upstream clean up, those downstream prepare for the onslaught of water.

– Alan, June 23, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer