P.A. mayor unhappy with flood forecast

Floodwaters at Prince Albert, Sask., didn't get anywhere near as high as predicted — and now the city's mayor is upset with the province.

Floodwaters at Prince Albert, Sask., didn't get anywhere near as high as predicted — and now the city's mayor is upset with the province.

Following the Alberta floods, the province forecast the North Saskatchewan River would rise 4.6 metres at Prince Albert. Dozens of residents were sent prepare-to-evacuate letters.

However, it turned out the river only went up about 2.5 metres, Mayor Greg Dionne said.

"It's costly," Dionne said. "You have to sandbag, you have to warn your residents. You get all kinds of people on the edge, worried, and then it doesn't  happen."

Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency says it's hard to predict water flows and it's better to err on the side of caution.

"We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," agency spokesman Patrick Boyle said. "We saw the devastation in Alberta."

Upstream at North Battleford, the water at one point was flowing in at 3,000 cubic metres per second, he said — the highest flows in 25 years.

However, it turned out that by the time the water reached Prince Albert, flows had dropped to about 2,300 metres per second.

"We really look at this as a positive thing," Boyle said.

Dionne said he's writing to the provincial government to say it must do a better next time with its flood predictions.

"What I'm worried about is one time it'll work in the opposite way," he said. "They're going to say it's going up three metres and it's going to go up four or five and you're not going to be ready."