Floods wreak havoc across southern Alberta

Two of the main highways in the Municipal District of Taber reopened Sunday morning after overland flooding from melting snow saw dozens of roads closed the day before.

'It’s not over with yet,' says M.D. of Taber official

A truck drives through floodwaters in the M.D. of Taber in southern Alberta. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Two of the main highways in the Municipal District of Taber reopened Sunday morning after overland flooding from melting snow closed dozens of roads the day before.

The area, however, remained under an emergency alert as of 1 p.m. Sunday, as many roads were still affected by the high water flow.

At 9:20 p.m., a second emergency alert was issued for Forty Mile County, south of Medicine Hat, due to localized overland flooding.

The alert cautioned that several roads had been closed.

Highways 36 and 864, which are both provincial roads, were deemed fit for motorists again Sunday morning after flood waters dropped overnight. However, RCMP said they are monitoring the situation and are prepared to close the roads again if the situation worsens.

On Sunday evening, Alberta Transportation cautioned that the following highways had started to flood. 

  • Highway 500, east of Coutts.
  • Highway 877, northeast of Milk River and between Highway 513 and Highway 61.
  • Highway 36 at the Old Man River and at Range Road 163 near Vauxhall.
  • Highway 884 south of Jenner.
  • Highway 555 between Atlee and Buffalo.
  • Highway 772 north of Calgary.

There was also a mudslide caution for Highway 837 near Drumheller.

Cooler temperatures overnight and into Sunday morning initially helped slow the water, which allowed for some of the drainage systems to get caught up. But as temperatures rose into the afternoon, M.D. officials said they were preparing for the worst.

Environment Canada forecast temperatures as high as 6 C for Taber on Sunday, with snow expected overnight, and above 0 C temperatures again on Monday.

"It's not over with yet," said Merrill Harris, the deputy reeve of the M.D. of Taber on Sunday morning. "There's still lots of snow to be melted, today if gets warm as it did yesterday it's just going to be that much worse again this afternoon."

Harris said the main canal of the St. Mary's River Irrigation District — the main system for irrigation in the area, which is acting as the drainage outlet — is currently right at the brim.

"It's flowing at full capacity or more than full capacity so there's a serious situation that could happen there yet if it starts overflowing its banks," he said.

2 family homes evacuated

Two families — a total of 13 people — were forced to leave their homes on Saturday due to flooding. Margaret Thiessen and her four children were among those forced to leave. She said she had been watching the waters rise on her property for the past three days and was prepared to evacuate the home.

They were allowed to return home Sunday morning, but only to check on their property.

"We're going there to rescue our animals," she said.

A full list of road closures and updates on the emergency situation are available on the district's website, and @511Alberta is is tweeting out updates on highway conditions.

With files from Anis Heydari