Deep Water

For those of you that aren’t in Manitoba, or in Canada: my city is flooded. (Well, my city would be flooded if it weren’t for a cunning system of permanent dikes, temporary dikes, sandbags, super sandbags, and good fortune. The powers-that-be are apparently referring to this as a high water event, since the word flood is double-plus-ungood.) We are currently under a state of emergency, initially declared for the city by the mayor and then extended to include pretty much the Assiniboine River floodplain by the province.

I’m high and dry. My house is a good ninety feet above the river valley, according to an online app that combines Google maps with elevation data, so if the water gets this high we’ll all be Arkin’ it on down the river to Winnipeg. But there have been between 900 and 1200 people evacuated as a precautionary measure, and it may be weeks before they can move back home. An elementary school whose basement got flooded — not by river water but by a high water table, as I understand it — has taken up digs at the University where I work. (By some accounts, the kids are better behaved than the University students.)

Even commerce and filthy luchre have to bow down to the floodwaters. The Corral Centre — our local congeries of big-box stores, conveniently located in prime flood territory — has been evacuated as well; I suspect this had less to do with the possibility of a dike breach and more to do with limiting traffic along 18th Street, one of the arterial roads that leads into and out of town. 18th is the only traffic artery that remains open to traffic; 1st Street is closed, and the eastern access road — highway 110 — is limited to one-way traffic, big rigs only, and every trip is piloted by a government vehicle, much like a pace car is used when the race is under a yellow flag.

The military is in town and in the surrounding area, sandbagging. The Prime Minister showed up in a helicopter a couple days back, to see the area for himself. There have been more single-engine planes flying over the city in the last two weeks than in the previous year, I’m pretty sure; the local flying club offers sightseeing flights at a reasonable rate, and right now everyone wants to get up in the sky and have a look-see. (I won’t say I’m not tempted, myself.)

The local paper, the Brandon Sun, has dropped their paywall for the duration of the flood high water event. Kudos to them, in my opinion. This allows my family members and my friends to view their stories without needing a subscription.

The road to the park
More like this in my Flood ‘011 set on Flickr

The Sun has a page dedicated to flood coverage: Brandon Sun flood page

Of note is their page of aerial shots, taken earlier this week: Sure looks like a flood to me

So that’s it in a nutshell. Got questions for me? Feel free. I’ll answer what I can.