Calgary's state of local emergency lifted as approaching weather system tracks south

The City of Calgary rescinded its state of local emergency Friday, with Mayor Jyoti Gondek saying an approaching weather system is now tracking farther south than originally anticipated.

Temporary berm on Memorial Drive will be taken down by Monday morning

The Bow River near where flood prevention measures were undertaken due to heavy rain earlier this week. (Oseremen Irete/CBC)

The City of Calgary rescinded its state of local emergency Friday, with Mayor Jyoti Gondek saying an approaching weather system was tracking farther south than originally anticipated.

The special order went into effect on Monday as the city braced for significant rainfall.

Although river levels are high, the risk of flooding in Calgary has passed for now, Gondek said, and the order is no longer needed.

"We are still in the midst of flood season … please make sure you are staying safe," she said.

"For households that may be in flood prone areas, please make sure that you're either ready to move anything in the basement or you've already done so. We're still anticipating that rain."

The temporary berm installed on Memorial Drive will be removed beginning Saturday at 7 a.m. Road closures will be in effect to accommodate crews and equipment, with the road opening for regular traffic by Monday at the latest.

Installing the berm cost the city about $115,000 — with at least $17,000 in additional funds to have it removed — but Sue Henry with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency said it was well worth the expense.

"The cost … protected $53 million in Calgarians property and critical infrastructure. There comes a point in response where you have to make a decision because things take time to put into place," she said.

"I think this was an incredible example of how much we've learned since the 2013 floods."

Calgary built this flood-mitigating berm on Memorial Drive near the Bow River in just 18 hours at a cost of about $115,000, city officials said. (Charlotte Dumoulin/Radio-Canada)

A boating advisory is still in effect for both the Bow and Elbow rivers. Officials warn that high and fast moving water continues to create dangerous conditions. Calgary's high river flow season runs from May 15 to July 15, according to the city.

In a news release Friday, the province also said no major flooding has been reported across Alberta despite significant rainfall and some localized floods.

More rain on the way

Wet weather is still on the way this weekend, says Francois Bouchart, director of water resources with the city, but this latest system will mostly miss Calgary.

The city has been working with Environment and Climate Change Canada to track the weather system, and the current models show the risk has dissipated.

"We're seeing the jet stream tracking south of us, taking that system actually farther south," he said.

The city will be looking at lessons learned from this experience to ensure they're applied to future flooding risks.

It will also continue to monitor and update Calgarians on any approaching systems.

Some provincial parks remain closed because of high water levels. The government continues to post updates on those here.


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