Fast flowing rivers keep officials on watch
Alberta has issued a flood watch for the South Saskatchewan River, while Calgary fire fighters were kept busy on the weekend warning people away from the city's rivers.
The flood watch covers the entire South Saskatchewan River basin, which includes the city of Medicine Hat. Also under flood watch is Willow Creek, in the Oldman River basin.
Heavy rain last week is now draining into the Bow and Oldman River systems and will hit Medicine Hat over the next few days. Officials in that city have closed a number of trails along the river and are closely monitoring water levels, however no homes or businesses are expected to be at risk.
In Calgary, the fire department has banned all activity on the Elbow and Bow rivers. Under the activated city bylaw "any and all activities near or on the water are restricted until further notice."
Cold river water – running fast and laden with debris – continues to rush through Calgary in the wake of last weeks' rain.
"The intent of the ban is to educate and drive home the dangers [for] people that would basically ignore the warning and danger signs and attempt to enjoy the sunshine," said spokesman Don Huska.
Nevertheless, fire fighters were kept busy Sunday getting people off the water.
"It is frustrating," said Huska. "Not only that they're putting themselves in danger, they're also endangering all the rescuers that have to attend, and also depleting the resources that are being dispatched to the call."
Depending on the weather and water levels in the rivers, the ban could continue for the rest of the week.