Saturday, 7 September 2013


I used to like rain.

I grew up loving to watch thunderstorms roll in over the Ontario countryside from the safe confines of a glider hanger. As as glider pilot, towering cumulus clouds thrashing and billowing in the sky were a joy to watch, and meant fun flying. A layer of low stratus may have prevented flying but sure was interesting to watch or listen to roll off the walls of my tents, tent trailer, or house trailer as we would hunker inside playing cards, drinking beer, sharing flying stories (or hiking stories, if we hiding from the rain while out on the trails).

Now rain has other meaning. On my new nascent forest and as-yet incompletely grown-in back yard, heavy rain means rivers of mud flowing towards my house, as happened last night.
Water breeches the retaining wall 
A muddy creek flows around the house, as designed
Rain now means "the basement could flood". Rain now means I could spend another month tearing wallboard out, and putting it back. We have worked hard at improving the drainage, but rain is a reminder that my basement walls still leak. Rain is a message to check the sump to see if water is coming in via the weeping tiles. Rain is a constant test of whether the fixes we did are good enough. Rain in an experiment as to whether the eavestroughs are all cleared and working.

It's interesting to watch the Facebook comments of the people in the Bow Valley now as a heavy rain event like the one we're currently having occurs. Will the creeks overflow again? Will the culverts block? Will there be evacuations? Did the temporary repairs the towns and MD put in place do their jobs?

Six months ago, a forecast of 50-70 mm of rain in a day would have been looked at as an annoyance -- no mountain biking or hiking for a day. The flood changed that. During the June flooding event, we had 200-300 mm in a 48 hr period, and it wiped out a portion of our world. Now we ask, "What will half of that do?"

We get to wait and see. The waiting is the hard part. Sadly, we all now are trained experts in flood response.

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