Calgary, High River not expecting overland flooding, say officials

Officials in both Calgary and High River say river conditions are not expected to worsen.
The fire department is reminding Calgarians to avoid boating activities and to stay off both rivers in the city. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

Officials in both Calgary and High River say river conditions are not expected to worsen.

Calgary's Emergency Management Agency says the city hasn't received as much rain as expected and they don't expect rivers to be at levels they cannot manage.

Rising water levels have led to states of local emergency in several southern Alberta communities. With rainfall warning still in effect for a number of towns, Calgary's acting director Tom Sampson says the city is making some of its flood resources available to those affected by flooding.

"We've been in touch with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, who is of course the leader from a provincial perspective, to offer our assistance."

So far, no communities have made a request for assistance.

Four incident management teams, as well as a heavy search and rescue team has also been put on alert and will help, if needed. Sampson says this will not affect Calgary's ability to deal with a situation, should one arise.

"You can never take all of your resources and put them all in another place, so we will maintain what we call our constant manning within the City of Calgary and not deplete those resources."

Some Calgarians still nervous

Despite the low risk of flooding in the city, Sampson says he understands why some residents may be nervous about the recent rainfall.

"I think we have to run with the experts and the experts in water resources are telling us at this point and time water is not going to be at levels that we cannot manage in the City of Calgary. We know that last year the forecast did change. The good news is that our experts are monitoring that an hourly basis to ensure that we have an appropriate response if anything changes."

With less rain falling in the city than expected, river flood mitigation manager Rick Valdarchi says the system bringing all this rain to southern Alberta isn't having as much of an impact as expected.

"We are at the top edge of the system — it isn't having a drastic impact on us," said Valdarchi. "Certainly everything is very manageable but, like I said, we're on the edge of it, we continue to monitor it."

"It looks like this system has chosen to slip south but we're well aware of weather patterns this close to the mountains and it could just as well shift to the north and we're just paying very close attention to that."

Calgary MP Joan Crockatt tweeted there is a Canadian Forces military liaison in the City of Calgary's operations centre to help monitor the situation.

High River not expecting overland flooding

The High River community of Wallaceville is no longer expected to experience any overland flooding.

Environment Canada has ended the rainfall warning for the Kananaskis region, which is the headwaters for the Highwood River. 

It's expected to peak sometime this afternoon.

There is still a rainfall warning in effect for the High River which could cause water to accumulate in town. 

Residents are being asked to ensure sump pump systems are working properly and that downspouts and eaves troughs are functioning. 

“We are continuing to closely monitor the river level,” said emergency management director Albert Flootman.

The town is not preparing sandbags at this time.


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