News / Calgary

Up to 100,000 Calgarians could be evacuated due to flood: City

UPDATE: 8:30 p.m.

The City of Calgary has updated its evacuated communities list:

  • Discovery Ridge
  • Beltline
  • Bowness
  • Sunnyside
  • Eau Claire
  • Downtown / East Village
  • Bonnybrook
  • Mission
  • Elbow Park
  • Stanley Park
  • Elboya
  • Roxboro
  • Quarry Park
  • Hillhurst
  • Rideau
  • Inglewood
  • Erlton
  • Cliff Bungalow
  • Victoria Park
  • Westmount
  • Montgomery
  • Windsor Park
  • Riverbend
  • Riverdale
  • Deer Run

City water services director Dan Limacher said water flows in the city are eight or nine times higher than they typically would be.

Find evacuation maps here.

UPDATE: 6:59 p.m.

The city is urging residents in the Calgary communities of Bowness, Sunnyside and Discovery Ridge to evacuate themselves immediately.

Water in the Bow River is rising at 100 cubic metres per second and flooding has likely begun in these areas, said Bruce Burrell, fire chief and head of Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

As residents leave, they are asked to mark an 'X' on their doors to notify police they have left. As well, residents are asked to notify neighbours on their left and right.

UPDATE: 5:28 p.m.

Officials expect as many as 100,000 Calgarians will be evacuated by midnight Thursday.

Peak flows will probably occur in the Elbow River shortly after midnight, and the city is taking the rare step of approaching school boards and recreation centres with the intent of turning them into evacuation centres.

Past incidents indicate up to 85 per cent of people will simply stay with family or friends, said Bruce Burrell, fire chief and Calgary Emergency Management Agency director.

The Bow River, meanwhile, will be monitored over the next 12 hours and could see levels rise with more rain tomorrow, Burrell said.

"This isn't going to be an incident of hours, this is going to incident of days," he said.

UPDATE: 2:40 p.m.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for six Calgary communities Thursday afternoon, including Mission, Elbow Park, Stanley Park, Roxboro, Rideau and Discovery Ridge.

City officials are encouraging residents of those communities to find shelter with family or friends for at least the next 72 hours. For those who can’t, reception centres have been set up at the Southland Leisure Centre, 2000 Southland Dr. S.W. and at the Acadia Recreation Complex, 240 90 Ave. S.E.

Evacuees are encouraged to take their ID, prescription medications and other important items such as prescription glasses or infant needs.

City officials will be going door to door in affected communities to notify residents of the evacuation.

Residents will not be allowed access to those communities after 3 p.m.

People with pets are encouraged to leave them with family or friends, but if that's not possible pets can be taken to the city's Animal Service Centre, 2201 Portland St. S.E.

Analysis is underway on possible flooding of the Bow River, especially where it meets the Elbow.

About 7,000 people will likely be kept away from their homes for a minimum of 72 hours and more evacuation orders could come in the next few hours.

Police are urging all residents affected to co-operate with evacuations, said Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux.

Roads are closed along Elbow Drive, 4th Street S.W., and near the Calgary Zoo.

Some roads in the city will flood, a spokesperson with water services said.

 Sandbags start to go down in the community of Mission around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Contributed by James Paton.

Sandbags start to go down in the community of Mission around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Contributed by James Paton.

UPDATE: 12:06 p.m.

City officials expect to begin evacuating residents along Calgary's Elbow River Thursday afternoon as water levels continue to rise.

Heavy rainfall is wreaking havoc both in the city and in areas like Okotoks, High River, Turner Valley, Black Diamond and Canmore.

Water levels could top the Glenmore Reservoir dam Thursday night at a rate faster than in 2005, when the city last declared a state of emergency. Damage was significant in that event, in which over 40,000 homes were flooded and 1,500 people evacuated.

The city will use a "tiered" approach, evacuating residents in high-risk areas first, said Bruce Burrell, fire chief and director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

"There is a lot of water coming down from the mountains," he said, adding the city may not be able to protect everything in the path of floods.

Rainfall is expected to continue over the weekend and sandbags are already being set up in certain areas prone to flooding.

Residents in potential flood areas are encouraged to leave early and stay with friends or family if the wish, Burrell said.

A flood reception centre is being organized and another update will be provided Thursday afternoon.

Original post: 9:50 a.m.

The City of Calgary declared a state of local emergency at 9:43 a.m. Thursday morning due to heavy rain and flood concerns.

With Mayor Naheed Nenshi out of the province, the decision was made by Deputy Mayor Richard Pootmans and Ald. John Mar to declare the state of emergency. They cited the "potential severity of the incoming high river flows in conjunction with expected heavy rainfall" in making the declaration.

Earlier in the morning, the city activated the Municipal Emergency Plan as rain continued to fall throughout the southern part of the province.

As of about 8:30 a.m., the Emergency Operations Centre was opened due to concerns over heavy rain and water levels on both the Bow River and Elbow River, according to a city release.

City crews were also dealing with power outages and flashing signals overnight due to rain and lightning.

States of emergency were declared in both Canmore and High River Thursday morning as well, with some residents being told to evacuate in areas of both towns.

Officials have also issued a warning for Black Diamond, advising an evacuation order is possible there as well.

According to Environment Canada, the rain in Calgary is expected to taper off Friday with a few showers amounting to about 5 mm.

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