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.