cbc.ca (© Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html#Rss)
Updated: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 09:02:44 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Alberta awakes to more rain as flood crests near



Alberta awakes to more rain as flood crests near

Albertans face more rain today as they awake to the worst flooding in decades, which has caused evacuations in Calgary and throughout southern areas of the province.

The swollen Bow and Elbow rivers carried water fast and furious through Calgary, and towns such as Canmore, High River, Black Diamond and Turner Valley.

Numerous Calgary neighbourhoods have been evacuated, affecting as many as 100,000 people.

-

- Map: See what Calgary neighbourhoods are affected

- Live updates: Get the latest from CBC reporters and Alberta officials

- See: Your photos of Southern Alberta floods

- List: Alberta emergency contacts

"The dams will crest on both the Bow and Elbow river over the course of the next little while, and the downstream impacts will be significant," said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

While not as intense as Thursday, more rain was forecast for Friday, with an additional 15-30 mm possible, said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland.

"The greatest amounts were expected west of Calgary and just north of Canmore, and an additional five to 10 mm tonight through Saturday morning," he said. "Showers also remain in the forecast this weekend."

Mudslides forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway, isolating the mountain resort towns of Banff and Canmore.

"The message tonight is that we are still expecting that the worst has not yet come in terms of the flow," Nenshi told CBC News early Friday in a telephone interview from an emergency operations centre.

At about 4:30 a.m. MT, Nenshi tweeted: "We think the Elbow is now at peak. But peak could last a while. Bow still has about 30-35% more flow, expected in next couple of hours."

Communities were hit hard just south of Calgary, a city of more than a million people that hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Earlier reports that Calgary Zoo's big cats had been taken to the city's courthouse for their safety were contradicted by police tweets. The zoo normally houses four such species, according to its website: lions, tigers, snow leopards and cougars.

Calgary police did say they had been working with the zoo on evacuations and had transported animals to other locations as a precaution.

Many downtown neighbourhoods were ordered evacuated as Thursday evening went on. Officials said the evacuation would take place in stages over the next few days. The province reported that 12 communities were under states of emergency.

In a 3 a.m. briefing, Nenshi praised "the incredible calm and orderly way in which we are managing this, both citizens and public servants." He said some police officers had been on the job for 20 hours at that point, helping with evacuations.

Still, it has been a shock: "I grew up here, I spent a lot of time on the Bow and Elbow rivers, and I have never seen the river that high and that fast," Nenshi said.

- Read the stories of Albertans dealing with floods in their neighbourhoods

Calgary officials expanded evacuation orders and opened more emergency shelters Thursday night. The evacuation orders have grown to cover parts of at least 25 neighbourhoods.

All Calgary public and Catholic schools are closed Friday.

Many neighbourhoods are shut even to local traffic. The only movement allowed is people heading out of the area, the city says.

"Everyone's safety is much more important than anything else that might be going on on a Friday."

Mike Crawford, who lives in Calgary, said he had to leave his home just after noon Thursday.

"I'm not really sure what I'm going to be walking into tomorrow or the next day," he told CBC's Ian Hanomansing

The evacuation orders cover the communities of Beltline, Bonnybrook, Bowness, Bridgeland Industrial Area, Chinatown, Eau Claire, Cliff Bungalow, Deer Run, Discovery Ridge, Downtown, East Village, Elbow Park, Erlton, Inglewood, Hillhurst, Mission, Montgomery, Quarry Park, Rideau, Riverbend, Riverdale, Roxboro, Stanley Park, Elboya, Sunnyside, Victoria Park, Westmount and Windsor Park.

CBC's Calgary station was also in the evacuation zone. Staff were putting together a morning radio show from a temporary headquarters at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and it was to be broadcast to the whole province with the help of CBC Edmonton.

Reporters and producers — many of whom spent the night being evacuated from their own homes — were deployed throughout the southern half of the province.

In Bowness, CBC's Kristina Barnes said water levels were high, nearing the top of the bridge. Police were driving along the bridge with a loudspeaker, urging people to stay away.

In Calgary, residents are encouraged to find shelter with family or friends for at least 72 hours. Reception at Southland Leisure Centre and Acadia Recreation Complex centres have been set up for residents who cannot find alternate accommodations.

You can find information from the City of Calgary here.

External Links

City of Calgary emergency updates
Government of Alberta flood warning update
Alberta Emergency Alerts

more video