Did YOU know about the floods in Canada???

During the hot weather last week, I heard a lot on BBC about the heat, rising temperatures, high humidity, the risk of thunderstorms and the floods at Glastonbury. But not even once did I hear about the destructive thunder and lightening storms, hail, tornados and overflowing rivers that my parents have had to live through in southern Alberta (that’s in Canada, in case any BBC employees are reading. The northern part of North America. The second largest country in the world. Where the Queen went recently. The place where England played rugby’s Churchill Cup on Sunday. Ring any bells??).

Mom and Dad had been keeping me updated all week on their situation. Living on a river, the only main source of water for irrigation for miles around, it was looking like they were going to be in dire straights come the end of the week. So, my father being an industrious person, got the tractor out and built a berm around the front of the house (the back being buried in a hillside anyway), as well as making sure all cattle were clear of the projected water line and everything protected that could be. (I must say this was round two of flooding – they were flooded much worse than this in 1997 when the ice jammed on the river and the water was flowing 8 feet deep round both sides of the house…) But, back to the flood at hand. Having had about 9 inches of rain since the beginning of June, expecially in the foothills around Calgary, the rivers in southern Alberta that are sourced in the Rockies were ready to burst their banks. The Old Man River, which runs through Lethbridge, did so earlier in the month, and now the Red Deer River, on which my parents live, was due to do the same. The peak hit my parents’ place on Wednesday, and my dad took this picture soon afterward. If you look at the top left corner, you can see the edge of the trees, which is where the river channel is. Amongst those trees are several cattle pens, a barn, a few wells, and my mom and dad’s house. The buildings you can see are the main farm yard, and the house where Mom and Dad’s hired man, Willie, lives. Everything on the lower level, save the house, was wet. You can see more pictures in the Photo Gallery.

Flood from Irrigation level

But that wasn’t all. On the ranch that my dad runs for his family at Hilda, Alberta, there was more destruction. About 30 miles away a tornado touched down, damaging a large natural gas plant. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the storm wreaked much more damage than that. On the Hilda place, rain, high winds and hail hit, damaging the house and destroying several outbuildings. This picture, thankfully not from our place and not of an inhabited building, shows what kind of winds were blowing. The metal bit is a granary – an upside down granary – that has been blown into and wrapped around this abandoned house.

Hilda neighbour damage 2

This is what it’s supposed to look like…

Looking at the CBC (That’s Canadian Broadcasting Company…) website, Alberta wasn’t the only province hit by flooding. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also been badly flooded. Prime Minister Martin has promised flood relief, but that doesn’t help the people who died, or lost all their memories and possessions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, all are fine, Mom and Dad’s house didn’t get wet, and the insurance will probably cover the damage to the Hilda house. Hey – it needed new windows anyway! But the problem still remains – Canada doesn’t seem to exist for most Brits. It’s huge – all of the UK would fit into southern Alberta comfortably – but they are generally thought to be an extension of America. Have you seen our money?? It has the Queen on it too! Perhaps you could pay us a little more attention now and again? After all, we did volunteer to fight beside you in World War 2…

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