Five years ago on June 19, 2013, the town of Canmore started to flood.
It was the first major sign of things to come for many communities in Southern Alberta as rain fell and mountain snow melted.
Rob Murray, the morning show host at 106.5 Mountain FM, remembered getting the state of emergency alert bright and early.
“I sprang out of bed, threw on some sweatpants and an old t-shirt, my sandals and ran out the door to my car,” he said.
Usually, dry creek beds had become raging torrents, overflowing their banks, carrying debris and destroying everything in their path.
“I remember driving across the bridge over Elk Run Boulevard and looking at the creek, and I’d never seen it just ragging the way it was, the amount of debris that was flowing down, I was like holy smokes,” said Murray.
“When I finally had a break in the action I was able to call my wife and be like, OK, you need to get the dog and the cat and the kid and bundle up and get onto the evacuation bus and get onto the other side of the creek and she was just like, ‘what do you mean? It’s just raining. I don’t know what the big deal is,” because she wasn’t anywhere near where it was happening,” he said.
He knew it would be a long day but it turned into a long week.
The Trans-Canada Highway was closed in and out of town and the station had to use a helicopter to get people to and from work.
He says the community really came together through the stressful situation.
“There was sort of a flood relief group that was just started by a young lady on Facebook and she was hoping, ‘maybe I’ll do my part to pitch in’, and everyone just sort of glommed onto that,” Murray explained.
An army of volunteers helped people clean up homes, residents opened their doors to their neighbours and musicians put on benefit shows.
Thankfully, no one lost their life in Canmore, but Murray said the station still gets a lot of calls from worried listeners on days when the rain is heavy and mountain snow is melting.
Mitigation work has been done over the last five years, specifically, the installation of large concrete pads to stop debris from tearing away at riverbanks, and there are other projects in the work upstream.