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Flood reflections: reporter Sarah Offin returns to a Calgary flood gauge

Reporter Sarah Offin reported live for more than 12 hours straight from the Elbow River in southwest Calgary during the first day of last June’s floods. Her reports featured a utilitarian fixture that became a flood gauge that marked the rise and fall of the water – a fire hydrant.  

One year later, she reflects on her experience.

I spent most of time during Global’s flood coverage reporting from the area straddling the neighbourhoods of Roxoboro and Rideau Park along the Elbow River.

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My photographer and I arrived at our live location at around 4 a.m. on June 21. We weren’t aware of just how severe the flooding was at the time, but we quickly realized the gravity of the situation as we came down the hill on Mission Road and saw hundreds of homes under water.

At that point, emergency officials estimated 400 homes were affected and the water was still rising.

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The roads had turned into rivers. We watched crews in fire boats going up and down the streets, rescuing people who had resisted the evacuation order.

I remained at this location with photographer Jerry Favro for more than 12 hours straight, reporting live throughout our flood coverage, standing side by side with families as they watched the Elbow River swallow their homes.

It was an emotional and desperate time for many, some wading back in to rescue their pets and to check on the state of their homes.

Together we watched closely for a sign of relief and found it at a fire hydrant in Roxboro. At the height of the flood, the water completely covered the hydrant and as it receded, the commonplace fixture became the sign of hope that so many were seeking.

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