Flood watch still in effect for Edmonton, Devon

The flood watch ordered Friday for the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton and Devon remains in effect Saturday.

Edmonton setting up sandbags in Riverdale, North Saskatchewan River expected to crest in city on Sunday afternoon

The city shored up the banks of the North Saskatchewan in Riverdale, preparing for the river to crest sometime Sunday afternoon. 2:19

The flood watch ordered Friday for the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton and Devon remains in effect Saturday.

City of Edmonton officials say they are monitoring the rising water levels in the North Saskatchewan River, and have made precautionary plans to ensure all necessary personnel and equipment is in place should the river breach its banks.

"We are vigilant in our monitoring of river levels and are ready to activate differing procedures in our response plan depending on the level of the river," said Chris Ward, branch manager for drainage services, in a news release made Saturday.

Based on the current information supplied by Alberta Environment, city officials do not expect major flooding to occur.

"The worst that we are likely to see is water coming just to the top of the bank and maybe slightly over the top in some very low-lying areas," said Ward. "That’s the worst that we are expecting in Edmonton this year."

Ward added that residents living in Riverdale — the lowest-lying neighbourhood in the city — do not need to be worried, although the city is setting up about 1,000 sandbags in the area as a precaution. 

"Everything that we are hearing from Alberta Environment ... is that the crest will come close to the top of the bank but will not go over the bank," Ward said.

Danger of erosion

However, city officials are warning Edmontonians about the danger of erosion along the banks of the North Saskatchewan.

"As the river rises, it’s very fast-flowing. That means that there is a current there that will be eroding banks — especially around bends in the river," said Ward. "That is something that is a concern and citizens should be cautious in those areas."

The city is urging people to be careful using river valley trails and low-lying parks and to obey any signs and closures.

"Public safety is our first priority," said Joanne Sheardown, director of Edmonton’s Office of Emergency Management. "We want to make sure all Edmontonians realize it’s really dangerous to be in the river valley right now. Stay away from there, don’t let your dogs or your kids play near the river."

Sheardown also advised people to refrain from attempting to take any watercraft out onto the river, as it is fast moving and contains a higher than usual amount of potentially damaging debris.

The North Saskatchewan River is expected to crest in Edmonton late on Sunday.

No other streams or waterways in the city are at risk of flooding, said Ward.

Assistance to Calgary

On Thursday, Edmonton sent 100 Edmonton police officers to Calgary to assist in flood management.

In addition to its local preparation, the city has also sent about 10,0000 sandbags to Calgary to help with flood management.

A second shipment of sandbags will be made in the next few days, said Sheardown, adding that other resources will be sent on an as-needed basis.

"We are committed to supporting our neighbours to the south in any way we can and will assist them to the best of our ability if requested," she said.

At this time, the city of Edmonton says it is not collecting donations for those affected by the flooding in southern Alberta.

However, financial donations can be made to the Canadian Red Cross or existing aid organizations.