City of Calgary enters state of local emergency in response to heavy rainfall

The City of Calgary has declared a local state of emergency in response to the heavy rainfall.

The special order goes into effect at 3:59 p.m. Monday.

During a press conference, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the special order allows police and fire departments to go door-to-door in the event of an evacuation, giving the city’s water service team access to the property for protection. critical infrastructure, and allowed the city to quickly secure supplies if needed.

In a warning issued by Environment Canada Monday morning, the agency said heavy and prolonged downpours will bring between 75 and 125 mm of rain Wednesday morning in the Calgary region. In some areas, total rainfall can reach 150 mm or more.

Gondek stressed that declaring the order was made as a precaution, and that rainfall and water level forecasts are still lower than in 2013, when downtown and other parts of the city were flooded. overwhelm.

Sheriff Susan Henry of the city’s Emergency Management Department said any possibility of an evacuation would depend on how weather conditions develop over the next few days.

Mr. Henry said: Bowness and Sunnyside, bordering the Bow River, are the Calgary neighborhoods most at risk from runoff.

She added that river conditions will continue to be monitored, with peak water discharge on the Bow River expected Wednesday night and peak water expected in Calgary on Thursday.

Due to the construction of a temporary median, part of Memorial Drive will be closed to traffic, beginning at midnight Monday, between 10th Street NW and Edmonton Trail NE

Henry urged Calgarians to exercise caution as forecasts and river conditions will continue to change rapidly.

It is not safe for Calgarians to be on the Bow or Elbow Rivers, or near riverbanks, Calgary Fire Department Assistant Deputy Sheriff Brian McAsey said.

“Currently, the water is very cloudy, so [it’s] not very clear, we can’t look at it. It is also very swollen, [on] both banks of the river. And that means the riverbank is not a safe place for you. “

Francios Bouchard of the city’s water resources department said preparedness measures, such as lowering water levels in Glenmore Reservoir, have been in place since the city began monitoring the weather system last week. .

Bouchard added that while both the Elbow and Bow Rivers are expected to have higher flows, the Bow presents a greater flood risk to the city, as current projections suggest more rainfall. on its catchment area.

‘Tense times’ for Albertans

During a news conference in Edmonton on Monday, Lisa Jackson, Alberta Parks and Environment’s executive director of environmental emergency management, said experts were gathering data to find out who might be affected. affected and who is at risk across the province.

“We’re watching a heavy downpour,” Jackson said. “We’ve seen it on radar and it’s starting to move into the eastern slopes.”

One complicating factor, she said, is an above-average snow cover at higher altitudes.

One area that Jackson said the province is watching carefully is the upper High River.

“We’re just working with communities to help understand what those impacts will be like if it leads to those levels,” she said.

Environments and Parks has also established its departmental coordination center to help manage the situation as it develops.

Jason Nixon, Secretary of the Environment and Parks, told reporters on Monday: “I know this is a stressful time for many Albertans – this is especially true for the communities that are at the heart of the battle. floods in 2013”.

“While I realize that having flood warnings or monitoring floods will be especially difficult for people in Calgary, High River, Canmore and other communities that were flooded in 2013, know that Alberta is better prepared than ever for major river events.”

He said that since 2020, Alberta has added more than 1,500 kilometers of new and updated flood mapping, more than the previous 30 years combined.

Nixon said he spoke with civic leaders in Sundre, located about 110 kilometers northwest of Calgary, and Mountain View County, as well as other rural city leaders. Provincial officials have also spoken with the City of Calgary and city associations.

“While city governments typically respond to floods and other local emergencies through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, the Government of Alberta is available to assist with the response if needed,” Nixon said.

He encouraged the Albertans to cooperate with local officials should there be a need to evacuate any area in the province. He also recommends everyone to download Provincial river app and of Alberta emergency alert app to stay informed about developments.

“The theme that runs through every emergency Alberta has ever faced has been: We’re in. We’re going to work together. We’re resilient and we’re on the side of our neighbors. me.”

On Monday afternoon, the Town of Canmore, located about 100 kilometers west of Calgary, said it had activated its emergency dispatch center and was monitoring flow levels in Cougar Creek and the Bow River.

It has also made flood-proof sandbags available for pick-up in the public works building’s parking lot, located at 100 Glacier Drive.

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