Flood-plagued southern Alberta sees rainfall warnings end

All rainfall warnings and weather advisories have ended for southern Alberta, which seems to be getting a reprieve from the flooding that has plagued communities recently.

Some communities remain under a state of local emergency

A campground on the Waterton River near the Blood Reserve was under water this week, but relief is in sight for many communities in southern Alberta as rainfall warnings end. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

All rainfall warnings and weather advisories have ended for southern Alberta, which seems to be getting a reprieve from flooding that has plagued communities recently.

However, some communities remain under a state of local emergency:

The Town of High River deactivated its Emergency Operations Centre overnight as the flow on the Highwood River continues to decrease. 

A flood watch remains in effect as a precaution for the Wallaceville area of the town. The community has been slated for demolition after being badly damaged during the devastating flood of 2013.

People in several communities on the Blood Reserve are still not able to return to their homes. Band officials say 213 people have registered for help with the Red Cross. The Belly River is expected to rise another 10 millimetres Friday.

The Blood Tribe Food Bank is looking for volunteers to help distribute supplies and can be reached at 403-360-9147.

Lethbridge County has lifted the evacuation alert for Oldman River Valley residents. Officials say river levels have peaked, but water levels are expected to remain high.

This aerial picture shows the flooding in Lethbridge County on Friday. (Lethbridge County)

"We understand the frustration of local farmers and that valuable crops are under water, but farmers are asked to continue to refrain from pumping their fields because pumped water will collect in neighbour’s fields," said county officials in a release.

Lethbridge County residents affected by the flooding are being asked to call 403-328-5525.

Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman released a YouTube video of the Oldman River this morning. The city says the river peaked at about 6 a.m. today. 

"We anticipate it will take several days for the river to start receding," said the city's update. "The river bottom and all access points remain closed to all residents. Please stay away for your own safety."

Lethbridge police are warning residents it is also not safe to park alongside busy roads to view the river valley and officers will be issuing tickets to violators.

In Medicine Hat, the city is advising residents that the South Saskatchewan River is expected to peak on Saturday, but won't be at a level that is likely to require evacuations. 

There are currently no boil-water advisories in affect, but health officials say residents in rural areas using well water should take extra precautions.

Heavy rain in recent days that caused rivers and creeks to rise rapidly in many communities is linked to the latest flooding concerns, and it comes exactly one year after the 2013 flood.

Ceremonies are being held across southern Alberta today to mark the anniversary, including a special commemoration at Calgary's City Hall.


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