A favorite quote:

Make play a high priority in your life for if you die tomorrow no one can play for you, but someone can and will do your work for you!!!" Ken Beebe (Dr. Play)

Monday, August 3, 2009

We were startled awake…

… by the wind, and then kept up by the incessant thunder and lighting. It was 2am. However; for the first time since we moved Andrew to his big boy bed, he spent the whole night there. Even when the storm came, I went to his room to check on him and he looked at me, changed position and fell back asleep. Yay. We all slept really good!

So today we were feeling pretty cooped up after our marathon salsa cookoff, so we decided to go for a truck ride. When we go for a ride, we never really know where we’ll end up, but it always ends up with some sort of adventure. Today we went North. we stopped at Tims for some coffee and a breakfast sandwich (naturally) and set off up the QE2 highway. Wow, being the holiday Monday, the freeway was busy. As soon as we could we got off the #2 freeway and onto the parallel #2a highway and slowed down and enjoyed the sights. The first town we come to is Crossfield. We had driven past this place many times as you have to purposely turn in off the highway, and were quite pleased with the look of the place. It’s just a nice small town. We did notice a lot of leaves and debris around the town as we were driving around, and then started to notice bigger things down on the ground like whole trees. Wow what a mess it turned into. That storm hit pretty hard here last night. IMG_5789 IMG_5787

It was pretty bad but we continued up the secondary highway to Carstairs. Traci needed a pit stop and I needed another coffee, so we stopped at the Co-op service station. Just before we got there, we started to notice some piles of white in the ditches. Yeah, there were drifts of (we soon found out) HAIL. This from a storm that happened almost 12 hours ago and the hail hadn’t melted yet. IMG_5792 IMG_5793

You can see in the top photo how much of a torrent of water and ice there must have been to create the piles! wow, impressive. We really didn’t know how bad the damage was until we looked across the street from where the above photos were taken, and saw that people had plastic over where their windows used to be. Turns out this storm had a girth of about 10km wide (6miles) and came from the Northwest at about 1am and ran straight over this unfortunate little town. That is about right for the time it hit Calgary at 2am. Calgary never gets these kind of devastating Hailstorms as the city insurance companies went together 20 some years ago and invested in a technology that has an Airplane go up into the thunderheads and shoot cannons of silver iodide into the upflows , that effectively keeps the hailstones to a non damaging size. The company that provides this service is called Weather Modification Inc. It is fascinating stuff! Calgary and Red Deer get priority, so sometimes the small towns are left in the line of fire, so to say.

We proceeded  along the street we were on, looking at the hail damaged houses and cars, and at the end of the street there was a new section of the town that was just devastated! Gawd did it look awful! IMG_5796 IMG_5797

Traci noticed their little plant pot on the step above got wrecked… this storm had no conscience.


IMG_5798 IMG_5800  IMG_5801See the piles of Hail still on the steps!


This little town was totally devastated, the more we looked around, the more damage we saw, on EVERYTHING. Every veggie garden was flattened, every car was dented, there were a lot of cars that had windows smashed out, every piece of metal (gutters, sheds) was dented, green houses decimated, anything painted was almost sandblasted, and anything wood was splintered. Wow. We spoke to a few townsfolk that were out cleaning up their yards, and they just seemed in awe of the storm. One guy we spoke to at length said he and his son were sleeping when it hit and he said it was like there was a freight train coming in the back door. As we spoke to him, a buddy of his came up with a plastic bag with some beer, and said, “well, nothing left to do but Drink beer!” LOL too funny, everyone's spirits were pretty high. Even a couple who rode out the storm in their 5th wheel at the local campground said it was quite the experience, they just stood in the center of their camper waiting to see what was going to happen next. We could see that all their clearance lights and vent covers were smashed and the unit was dimpled like a golf ball. The initial feeling we got from the people of the town was, “well, lets get to work and clean up!” everyone seemed to be helping each other. It was pretty nice to see.

We carried on out North out of town, and the enormous impact that this storm had, hit us. The farmers fields were destroyed. This canola field is supposed to be bright yellow standing 4 feet tall. This is all that's left for miles. Complete and total destruction.IMG_5809

It is haunting to say the least. The work now is huge. Some of you that read this blog have dealt with, or are dealing with this type of thing due to hurricanes (Ike, in Texas) and tornadoes all over the states, but it is pretty rare up here to see this kind of thing. I feel for everyone going through these incredible events, no matter where you are. These things sure make you think don’t they?

Well, we finished our ride over to Sundre and back through Cremona, we had a pretty relaxing but awe inspiring trip, and we are counting our blessings today and everyday. How could we not with a son as gorgeous as this. We are truly BLESSED! IMG_5781

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