City officials say the flooding North Saskatchewan River is going down.

It crested in Edmonton around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

"The rate of rise has slowed significantly," said Chris Ward with the city's drainage services.


At the river's peak, the North Saskatchewan breached its bank near 87th Street and 101A Avenue in Riverdale. (Ann Sullivan/CBC)

"We are continuing to monitor it and we are still encouraging all citizens to stay away from the river banks and low-lying areas."

At the river’s peak, the CBC’s Ann Sullivan reported water steadily spilling into the street near 87th Street and 101A Avenue in Riverdale.

Minor flooding was also reported near the Whitemud Ravine, with several roadways and trails being inundated.

As the river begins to drop, these areas will begin to drain naturally, said Ward.

So far, flood damage has only been reported along some of the low-lying river valley trails, he added. Those areas will remain closed until they are assessed by the city.

"We’ve gotten off very easily here in edmonton," said Ward.

"We have not run into any significant issues and so we do not have a major cleanup to do."

Spectators gather in Riverdale

City crews have been working throughout the weekend to mitigate potential flooding.

About 1,200 sandbags were placed around low-lying areas in Riverdale and near Whitemud Creek as a preventative measure, said Ward.

Riverdale resident Andre Power was surprised to find that city crews had built a wall of sandbags around his property while he was away from home Saturday night.


Spectators gathered in Riverdale to watch as the river breached its banks. City workers had already installed sandbags around homes in the area as a precautionary measure. (CBC)

When he returned home Sunday morning he joined the crowds of spectators gathered to watch the rising river just metres from his home.

"It's just a waiting game —see what happens. I'm a little bit nervous. This is the first time I've seen it this high and I've been here for five years," said Power.

But Power said worries about flooding aren't enough to chase him away from his home, especially since the city appeared to be well-prepared for Sunday's minor flooding.

"The city did an awesome job," he said. "When they do come to take [the sandbags] away I'll definitely shake their hands and thank them for their efforts. It saved me a lot of hard labour and sweat."

The city also shut down roads around 102nd Avenue at 87th Street in Riverdale as a precautionary measure. The area is scheduled to re-open Monday morning.

Precautions remain in place

Although the river is going down, the flood watch is still in place and city officials are asking Edmontonians to continue to avoid the river valley for several more days until the river returns to safer levels.

"[There is] no boating on the river at this time," said Ward. "We have closed all of our boat ramps so stay away from the river ... all sorts of debris is being washed down from upstream and it’s just a safety hazard."


The City of Edmonton has shut down access to several low-lying areas and has placed sandbags around some homes in Riverdale as precautionary measures. (CBC)

"It’s really important to stay away," added Mayor Stephen Mandel.

According to EPCOR spokesman Tim LeRiche, water levels in Edmonton rose three metres between Friday night and Saturday.

LeRiche said EPCOR was also prepared should the safety of the city’s drinking water supply be at risk.

"Right now the water in Edmonton is safe, the water plants are working fine," he said Sunday afternoon. "Obviously, we have contingency plans in place should anything happen — but we don’t think anything is going to happen."

Local state of emergency remains in place in Devon

Southwest of Edmonton, the local state of emergency remains in effect for the Town of Devon where several low-lying areas along the North Saskatchewan River, including the Devon Lions campground, Voyageur Park and river valley trail system, were evacuated Saturday evening.

Ed Wittenberg was one of the campers evacuated from the Devon Lions campground.

He said his family was given about two hours notice to leave, should the river keep rising.

"We had lots of time," said Wittenburg, adding that officials handled the evacuation extremely well.

"It was an exciting experience," he said. "If everybody stays calm and just does things calmly, then it works out fine. When panic sets in, that's when things get in trouble."

Wittenburg said there's been no word yet when he might be able to move his trailer back into the campground, which is partially flooded and had some erosion along the river bank.

"That will depend on the river," he said.

According to a release made by the town, the state of emergency is anticipated to remain in place for at least seven days until damages to the campground are evaluated.

Mayor Anita Fisher said Sunday that the flood caused very little damage in Devon.

However, she added, the river still is "extremely dangerous."


The road to the Devon Lions campground will remain closed until town officials have inspected the area. (CBC)

Outside Edmonton

Water levels on the Red Deer River, which peaked around 9 p.m. Saturday, are also dropping.

The local state of emergency declared on Friday night has been lifted and residents living in the McKenzie Trail Recreation Area have been permitted to return home.

"We are happy to say that the worst is behind us," said Red Deer’s Deputy Mayor Tara Veer in a release Sunday.

"We have fared very well, considering the devastation that’s taken place in other Alberta communities."

North of Edmonton, water levels in the Athabasca River Basin are decreasing, although high streamflow advisories remain in place for the Athabasca River downstream from the Town of Athabasca and upstream of Fort Assiniboine, in the Clearwater River and its tributaries and in the McLeod River upstream of Whitecourt.

All streamflow advisories have now been lifted for the Hangingstone River in Fort McMurray, where flooding forced hundreds of people from their homes earlier this month.