City of Calgary enters local state of emergency in response to heavy rain | CBC News

The City of Calgary has announced a local state of emergency in response to the heavy rains.

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

At a news 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, gives the city’s water services team access to the property to protect critical infrastructure and allows the city to quickly secure supplies if needed.

In a warning issued Monday morning by Environment Canada, the agency said significant and prolonged rain events will bring 75 to 125mm of rain on Wednesday morning in the Calgary region. In some areas, rainfall totals of 150mm or more are possible.

Gondek stressed that the declaration of the order has been made as a precautionary measure, and that the projections of rainfall and water levels remain lower than in 2013, when the center and other parts of the city were flooded.

Chief Susan Henry of the city’s Emergency Management Agency said any potential evacuation will depend on how weather conditions develop in the coming days.

Bowness and Sunnyside, which border the Bow River, are the Calgary neighborhoods most at risk from high flows, Henry said.

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

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

Henry urged Calgarians to be careful as forecasts and river conditions will continue to change rapidly.

Deputy Chief Brian McAsey of the Calgary Fire Department said it is not safe for Calgarians to be in the Bow or Elbow rivers, or near riverbanks.

“Right now, the water is extremely cloudy, so [it’s] not very clear, we can’t see into it. He is also very swollen, [on] both riverbanks. And that means the riverbank is not a safe place for you.”

Francios Bouchard of the city’s water resources department said preparatory 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 the Elbow and Bow Rivers are expected to experience higher flow levels, the Bow River poses a greater risk of flooding to the city as current projections show more precipitation in its catchment area.

‘Tense time’ for Albertans

At a news conference in Edmonton on Monday, Lisa Jackson, executive director of environmental emergency management for Alberta Environment and Parks, said experts are analyzing the data to determine who could be affected and who is at risk across the province.

“We are looking at a significant rain event coming in. We’ve already seen it on radar, and it’s starting to move up the eastern slopes,” Jackson said.

She said one complicating factor is higher-than-average snow cover at higher elevations.

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

“We’re just working with communities to help understand what those impacts would be if it turns out at those levels,” he said.

Environment and Parks has also established its departmental focal point to help manage the situation as it unfolds.

“I know this is a tense time for many Albertans, especially the communities that were at the center of the devastating floods of 2013,” Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon told reporters Monday.

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

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

Nixon said he has been speaking with civic leaders in Sundre, located about 70 miles northwest of Calgary, and Mountain View County, as well as other rural municipal leaders. Provincial officials have also been talking to Calgary city and municipal associations.

“While municipal governments typically respond to flooding and other local emergencies through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, the Government of Alberta stands ready to assist with the response, if needed,” Nixon said.

He encouraged Albertans to cooperate with local officials should it become necessary to evacuate any area of ​​the province. He also recommended people to download the province river app and the alberta emergency alert app to stay informed about developments.

“A theme in every emergency Alberta has faced is this: We are in this together. We will work together. We are resilient people and we stand with our neighbors.”

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

It has also prepared sandbags for flood protection that are available for pickup in the parking lot of the public works building, located at 100 Glacier Drive.

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