Southern Alta. readies ‘de-watering’ equipment

Alberta’s provincial agriculture department is distributing pumps to communities in the province’s south to support “de-watering efforts” as waterways rise under continued rainfall pressure.

Municipalities and response agencies have reported to the province that the impact to date from heavy rainfall in the region is “significantly lower” than last year’s flooding.

However, a number of southern towns and municipalities remain in a state of local emergency and have opened local emergency operation centres, the province said Thursday.

The provincial ag department has shipped pumps to communities including McGrath, Coaldale and the County of Lethbridge, all of which have declared states of local emergency already.

Other communities that have declared local emergencies include Medicine Hat, Fort Macleod, Coalhurst, the Municipal Districts (MDs) of Taber, Crowsnest Pass and Willow Creek, and the town of Claresholm where over 35 homes are reported affected by overland flooding. Highway 811 north of Fort Macleod is closed due to flooding.

The Blood Tribe, which remains under a state of local emergency, has evacuated about 350 residents as over 130 homes have been affected by “overland flooding or rain issues.” At Piikani Nation, the province said Thursday, water levels are receding and roads are open but “several” homes were affected by overland flooding.

A high stream flow advisory remains in place for the town of High River.

River levels within the city of Lethbridge are expected to rise “somewhat” but aren’t expected to cause “significant” impact, the province said, but noted over 300 homes have been affected by overland flooding and/or sewer backups.

In the Bow River basin, Bow River tributaries upstream of Calgary are rising, as is the Bow downstream of Calgary and through Siksika First Nation. High streamflow advisories are in effect on the Bow and on the Elbow River and Fish Creek. Flood watches are in effect for the Highwood River in the Wallaceville neighbourhood in High River, as well as on Threepoint Creek and on the Sheep River at Black Diamond. A high streamflow warning is in effect on the Highwood River.

The Milk River is rising and a high streamflow warning is in effect, while the Milk’s tributaries flowing out of the Cypress Hills are steady and advisories are ended.

In the Oldman River Basin, rising waterways with further flood potential include the Oldman both upstream and downstream of the Oldman Dam; Willow Creek, downstream of Chain Lakes; the Waterton, Belly and St. Mary rivers; Waterton Lake; and Pincher Creek.

Lee Creek is reported to be peaking and the Crowsnest and Castle river levels are falling, but flood watches on those waterways remain in effect, the province said. — Network


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