Alberta officials have issued high stream flow advisories in southwestern Alberta, including the Bow River and its tributaries upstream of Calgary, with Banff and Lake Louise already experiencing some flooding.

The Bow Valley parkway closed Wednesday between Castle Junction and Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park because of flooding.

Canmore RCMP are also advising of flooding and debris on Highway 1A and travel is not recommended between Exshaw and Canmore.

The Bow and Pipestone rivers are very high in Lake Louise, with the Post Hotel putting out sandbags as precaution. The hotel is very close to the flood plain of the Pipestone and is within inches of having water in cabins. 

"Some low lying areas are starting to go underwater," said Brad White, a visitor safety specialist based in Lake Louise.

Mountain trails closed

A number of trails are shut in the area, as well as some foot bridges over the Pipestone, and White said they may close the Lake Louise campground.

White hopes the rivers will crest later on Wednesday, and the flooding will go down. He said there was a lot of flash flooding overnight, which caused side creeks to run over local roads.

White expects a high water advisory to be in effect until at least Friday.

Three provincial recreation areas have also been closed until further notice due to flood risk.

  • Red Lodge Provincial Park west of Bowden
  • Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area west of Rocky Mountain House near Highway 11
  • Snow Creek Provincial Recreation Area west of Rocky Mountain House near Highway 11 

Mudslide closes highway

Flooding is also reported throughout the mountain parks. A mudslide has closed the Trans-Canada Highway in B.C. between Revelstoke and Golden.

Jacquelyn Daniluk of Parks Canada says that area is always a bit unstable.

"The rate and volume of flow is greater now than what the basins can hold so it's flowed over them and onto to the highway," she said. "So it's impacted about 400 metres of the Trans-Canada Highway."

Traffic is lined up and the highway is not expected to be open until at least 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Advisories issued across southwestern Alberta

si-flooding-300

A normally dry field in Cochrane, Alta., flooded with water after heavy rains this week. (Submitted by Laura Kruger)

All rivers and tributaries between Grande Prairie and the Waterton Lakes at the U.S. border just south of Cardston are expecting to be high flowing, said Carrie Sancartier, a spokesperson with Alberta Environment.

Officials say the water is rising and flooding adjacent to local rivers and streams is possible.

Alberta Environment advises anyone close to rising water to take precautions.

Roughly 10 millimetres to 22 millimetres of precipitation fell overnight and an additional 50 millimetres to 80 millimetres is forecasted to fall Wednesday through Thursday.

Calgary fire officials issue warning

While Calgarians are being warned to steer clear of the fast-flowing Bow River and the Glenmore Reservoir Wednesday, no major flooding is expected.

The Calgary Fire Department is advising Calgarians to also stay off the Elbow River until further notice.

A combination of heavy rain and continued snow pack melting in the mountains has resulted in rapid flow and increased debris in the water, which could be dangerous for boaters and rafters.

Fire officials are also warning locals to stay off of the river banks as the fast-moving water can cause the banks to collapse.