We're under a serious flood watch here in the Lower Mainland. The experts tell us that the snowpack up in the mountains is 165% of what it usually is and the melt is just starting. They say that if it get's too warm too quickly, then we are in big trouble! I work in a neighbouring city and the estimates there are, that worst case scenario, some areas could be under up to 4 meters (or 16 feet) of water. Now isn't that special?!?
I've been consciously ignoring the warnings, thinking that I'm far enough from the Fraser - almost a mile away and approximately 100 feet above, so this isn't going to affect me. Wrong! A co-worker who is dealing with emergency preparedness gave me some cold hard facts that scared the beejesus out of me. For example, I live on a flood plain and there are very serious concerns about my town. They say if it gets bad, that 95% of my little piece of paradise will be under water. Add to that the fear of contamination due to all the industry along the Fraser, and we could well have to deal with contaminated water flooding our homes. They also say, if evacutated, we may not be able to return to our homes for 6 to 8 weeks. That's enough to give anyone nightmares! My stamp lady, who lives on acreage on the other side of town, had the RCMP visit her last week. They were taking a head count, trying to determine how many people live in each residence, how many adults, kids, elderly, giving out pamphlets about disaster preparedness...that sort of thing in case the area needs to be evacuated.
She has pets and livestock. They told her they would evacuate her family and pets but no livestock. Pets aren't allowed in emergency shelters so for those people, like myself, who have no family here, what do I do with my pets? When asked what provisions she had made for her goats, her aviary, chickens etc, she told them she planned to move them to her sundeck which is about 15 to 20 feet above ground. They told her that wasn't a good idea because no one would be allowed back in once evacuated - who was going to feed them? Shades of New Orleans!
The Mounties told her that this was her notice of possible evacuation and that the next time she saw them, they would telling her to pack up and get out NOW! How scary is that?!? They told her if it came to that, then she was to open her barns and her aviary and let the animals go. She's concerned about her doves and chickens - she says the hawks will get the doves! My comment to her was that if she let them go at least they would have some chance. Better that the hawks get them than they drown in their cages! I can't think of anything worse than that! The RCMP officer said the same thing. He said that instinctively the animals will try to find somewhere safe. No higher ground nearby but at least they'd have some chance.
I live in a 3 story townhouse and have 2 pets. There is no way that I can do all the things they suggest - moving appliances, etc. I've tried to discuss it with husband, but he refuses to take any of this seriously. He says he has lots of beer, I have my tequila, we have water - so hey, no worries! He says it's just the media "fear mongering". This from a man who should clearly know better! I swear he's in denial! Unbelievable! I know he's being a smart ass but sometimes I could just choke him!
The "window of opportunity" for the greatest risk of flooding is from May 15th to the end of June. I've discussed this with my adult daughter who lives with us, explained to her that while her dad chooses to fiddle while Rome burns, that I am going to make preparations. I have no idea what to expect ! My efforts to get ready may be inadequate but at least I'm thinking about it and trying to prepare. She and I are both in agreement - "stuff " can be replaced but we will NOT leave our pets behind. If necessary, I will take them to work with me! I've already made that announcement at work and that didn't seem to be a problem, so that's one less thing to worry about. I've already told husband I think he's a fool - and I mean that in the nicest possible way! He's been warned that my golf clubs will be saved - because I will be moving them to higher ground - and that he can expect his to float away. He's also been advised that when all he has is a pair of underwear and a toothbrush, that he will get no sympathy whatsoever from me! I've also put him on notice that if he's thinking he'll get his toothpaste or toilet paper from me, that he better be prepared to make a deal because it will cost him dearly.
Entrepreneurship at it's finest!