City of Calgary declares State of Local Emergency in response to heavy rainfall
CALGARY - With the forecasted rainfall, and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking steps to ensure Calgarians are safe.
Over the last 24 hours, forecast conditions in the Kananaskis region and Calgary have not improved, with the potential for more severe weather than originally anticipated.
At this point, river flows are not expected to cause widespread overbank flooding, however, as mentioned by the mayor we today are announcing a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) effective immediately and opening the Emergency Operation Centre to lead coordination and response efforts and are taking several steps to protect critical infrastructure and the safety of citizens.
“At the City of Calgary, we learned many important lessons from 2013 when we endured major flooding. Today, we have flood mitigation measures in place that put us in a better position than 10 years ago,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “I realize that this weather event may cause fear and anxieties to arise for Calgarians, especially for those who have lived through flooding before. Let me reassure you that you are in good hands and we will continue to ensure communications are clear and frequent.”
The SOLE allows us to write local orders to clarify or deal with local challenges and quickly secure supplies needed to run essential services. In addition, this SOLE helps us take further actions to protect the most vulnerable in our community. We are going to continue to use every tool in our toolbox and work extremely hard in the best interests of our citizens, businesses and communities.
The updated forecast is calling for as much as 150 mm by Wednesday morning, with some models calling for more. The peak river flow is expected Wednesday morning or early afternoon on the Elbow and Wednesday evening on the Bow. Conditions are expected to change as rainfall continues.
While high water levels are not expected in Calgary until Thursday, we are making every effort to inform Calgarians which areas in the city are at risk of flooding. In some localized communities along the Bow River, there may be the potential to be on standby to evacuate. Detailed maps of the most impacted areas can be found at calgary.ca/flood.
How The City of Calgary is preparing and keeping Calgarians safe
- City crews will be out installing temporary berms between 10th Street N.W. and Edmonton Trail N.E. to protect homes, key roadways and critical infrastructure.
- Road Closures will begin tonight at midnight tonight along Memorial Drive between 10th Street N.W. and Edmonton Trail N.E. to accommodate berm construction.
- City crews are out in low-lying communities preparing stormwater outfalls and deploying pumps in preparation for tomorrow’s anticipated conditions.
- Water levels at the Glenmore Reservoir have been lowered to prepare for increased inflows. The Reservoir is closed to on-water recreation.
- TransAlta and Alberta Environment and Parks have lowered the water level in the Ghost Reservoir and are managing increased flows.
- Members of Calgary Fire and Calgary Police marine units will be monitoring the river while the boating advisory is in place. For the safety of river users and emergency responders, The City advises everyone to stay off the Bow and Elbow Rivers until conditions return to normal.
- For your safety and the safety of our first responders we would ask all Calgarian to stay off the river and away from fast moving water.
What Calgarians should do
- Exercise caution around riverbanks as the fast-moving water can cause erosion and destabilization of riverbanks.
- Warn children about the dangers of fast-moving water, particularly those residents who live near the river.
- Cyclists and pedestrians should watch for low-lying areas where the river can submerge the pathways. Visit calgary.ca/pathwayclosures for up-to-date information on pathway closures.
- Please be aware and adjust your travel to allow time to react, respect gate closures.
- Contact 311 if you see any flooding concerns. Contact 911 if life safety is a concern.
- Keep pets away from fast moving water.
- Remove lawn furniture and other portable items off the riverbank.
Take steps to be flood ready
- Move valuables and documents out of your basement as basement seepage is possible in river communities in lower-lying areas
- If you have a sump pump or backflow valve, ensure it’s working.
- Citizens should make sure to clean debris from eavestroughs, so they don’t overflow with water and seep into basements. Point downspouts away from homes onto grassy areas so water soaks into the ground.
Report pooled water on streets
The City of Calgary has special devices in the storm drains that allow the water to drain slowly and not overload the stormwater system. If citizens see water pooling around storm drains they should wait 90 mins and if it’s still not draining, take a photo and submit it via the 311 app or online request. This will help City crews respond on a priority basis.
Forecast and river conditions can change quickly and with little warning, so it’s important Calgarians continue to stay informed. Visit Calgary.ca/flood for the latest information and follow updates from The City through local media and on The City’s social media.