When I visited Calgary in the aftermath immediately after the flood it was abnormally, well, normal. Driving in from Edmonton it didn't feel any different from the thousands of times I'd been there before. Same number of cars on the road. No major physical scarring. Just the old familiar feeling. Until I arrived in where the barricades of debris lined the street it didn't seem altered at all.
Arriving in High River was altogether different. Having only been to High River a few times it didn't have that same feeling of familiarity but that wasn't what was different. The moment you drove in you knew something big had happened to this little town.
Businesses we passed were either closed or has "Now Open" signs on them. Dirt, silt and rock were scattered around giving the appearance that you were in a river bed. A boat lay in the ditch of the main road seriously mangled. The railroad had earth washed out from underneath it in many places and actually twisted upside down one spot. The mobile home park made me think of bumper cars when your turn is over and they are powered down scattered throughout the track.
The Pet Emporium had a high water mark half way up the door which made me wonder what happened to the inventory.
Looking down the roads we passed we saw the same thing on every street: big steel bins, people in white coveralls, debris piled high. Businesses and homes with water lines midway up the wall. Some places looked like worst was cleaned up already. Some were only beginning to deal with mess.
When we arrived in my cousin's neighborhood it was clear some places were hit harder than others. One place had completely collapsed although I couldn't tell if it was a house or garage. Another place had a hole the size of a laundry basket right in the side of the house. Rob and Rachel considered themselves lucky as the flooding only affected the crawl space and went one foot high on the main floor. There is lots of work to be done but they know they are well off compared to some.
Throughout this whole event Rob and Rachel's luck has held. They were in the process of moving between properties so technically had possession of 2 properties when the floods hit. Thankfully the property they had sold had no damage whatsoever and the sale continued as planned. When they arrived at the house that was flooded they could see that they were lucky once again as big fifth wheel RV and a steel garbage bin from down the street had landed in their front yard without damaging their house.