Thursday, June 20th, was stormier than the preceding day. It started, if I remember correctly, in the late afternoon, when the sky clouded. It wasn’t overcast, which may have promised steady drizzle, but came on in glowering banks of clouds that reached high into the sky. Another thunderstorm was in the offing. Lightning flashed repeatedly and the thunder was making the cats nervous. But they put up with it well. Then the sky grew darker and hail started falling. It fell hard and faster, and was the worst hailstorm I’d experienced.
We were safe enough in the house. I’ve been here for two and a half years and the basement hasn’t leaked yet. I’m told that concrete made before about 1960 is superior to that which came after (I wouldn’t be surprised, since most of what came after was inferior), and so my house (built circa 1955) would be unlikely to flood. In any case, I wasn’t worried, though the ferocity of the rain and hail overflowed the eavestroughs, and sent water over the gutters of the roof as if it were coming out of a tap. The picture below looks as though the windows are steamed up. They aren't; that's how fast the precipitation fell.
The cats did quite well, standing up to the storm. Tungsten was on the bed at the time, trying to catch a little sleep. She woke and, though maintaining her usual attitude of indifference, certainly didn’t try to go back to sleep. Josie hid under the armchair again, while the boys, who were steady during the thunder, couldn’t abide the hail, and hurried downstairs. I followed them after a few minutes and urged them to come up. Renn did, hastening into the bedroom, while Tucker followed a few minutes later.
Bear-Bear seemed fascinated by the storm for the most part, and watched the hail fall. He is a brave fellow and seems not to be easily unnerved.
The hail lasted for quite a while, as hailstorms go. The rain that fell with it came down so quickly that it didn’t drain fast enough to keep the streets from flooding; I expect the volume of hail may have choked the drains temporarily. A small, rushing brook formed at the edge of the street outside my house, a brook which eventually fed a large lake at the end of my drive-way.
The hailstorm, but was just a precursor to the storm that followed. This one dropped rain alone, though it accompanied it with lightning and thunder. People I spoke with afterward were surprised at how long the lightning continued to light up the night. I think it was still flashing at about two o’clock the next morning. Thunderstorms don’t usually last five hours; they settle into rainstorms long before that.
This storm seemed to stretch across most of southern
. It was still sprinkling the next
morning here in Alberta ,
but farther north, it continued raining all the next day. River levels rose
everywhere, particularly in parts of Lethbridge Calgary,
and in Canmore and . The last named
town has been evacuated in its entirety; I’ve not lived through a storm which
did such a thing. Usually, parts of a community are emptied, as with some neighbourhoods in High
Calgary High River,
though, lived up to its name and the stream that passes through it, the , engulfed most of the town. Highwood River
Seven years ago, a report on the dangers of flooding, commissioned by the provincial government, recommended a ‘flood mitigation strategy’ to prevent such catastrophes. The government balked at spending the $300,000,000 needed to implement the plan. Now, three times that amount is being set aside to help recover from the floods. If anyone knows of a government in the last fifty years that has acted, rather than merely reacted, let me know.
Anyway, that’s my political diatribe for now. My cats are wondering where the food is. They know what’s important.