June 16 Update on City of Calgary Response to Weather Event
CALGARY - While the storm system has passed, The City continues to monitor conditions as a second system is developing and may hit Calgary and areas to the west early next week.
“We are seeing a potential for a second event to materialize,” said Francois Bouchart, Director of Water Resources. “It is important to understand that due to the recent rain, the ground is now saturated and will not be able to absorb as much rainfall. Therefore, future rain will result in more run-off into the Elbow and Bow Rivers.”
The City is working closely with Environment and Climate Change Canada to track the second system. While some models show little to no impact to Calgary, some show the possibility of heavy rain early next week.
Until the full impacts of the second system are known, The City will continue to take every precaution to remain prepared and able to respond to emerging events. This will include leaving pumps in place and preparing to close water outfalls as needed.
The City is also taking steps to restore vehicle access to the section of Memorial Drive that was closed to build a temporary flood barrier.
Beginning this morning, City crews will begin to partially remove the flood barrier on Memorial Drive. This work, expected to be complete by Friday morning, will allow two lanes of traffic to reopen on Memorial Drive.
“This is a great highlight of the speed, the adaptability, the responsiveness and the balances of the many priorities that take place in emergency management,” said Sue Henry, Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief. “While we watch the rain forecast for next week we will remain in a state of readiness to respond.”
The rest of the barrier will stay in place until The City is confident that the risk from the second weather system has passed. The State of Local Emergency, which was put in place on Monday, will remain in effect until the risk has passed.
Water levels are still high, and the boating advisory remains in effect on both the Bow and Elbow Rivers and will be in place until water levels taper off to a safe level. Calgarians are advised to stay away from the rivers and against boating and all other watercraft activities on the Bow and Elbow Rivers as well as the Glenmore Reservoir during this time.
Members of the Calgary Fire Department Aquatics Team will be monitoring the rivers while the boating advisory is in place, and we will continue to keep the public informed of any changes.
While most parks have reopened, Rideau Park remains closed until further notice. Information on closures is shared on calgary.ca/flood.
Tree impacts and disposing of fallen branches
The saturated ground and high winds earlier this week caused many downed trees. There were 1,008 tree-related calls to 311.
Citizens can report downed trees on City property or those that are blocking a roadway using the 311 app or online at calgary.ca/311.
If the tree is on private property, it is the property owner’s responsibility to arrange removal services.
To help residents with the clean up, The City will be temporarily waiving disposal fees for tree debris from the storm. Residential customers can take storm-related tree debris to all three waste management facilities at no charge until July 15.
Residents can also dispose of tree branches in their green carts. To do this, they should ensure that:
· Branches and tree trunks are less than 15 cm (six inches) in diameter and less than 1.25 m (four feet) in length.
· The lid of the cart can close.
Once the green cart is full, residents can place extra cut branches into paper yard bags, roll the tops of the bags closed and set at least two feet to the side of the green cart for collection.
Forecast and river conditions can change quickly and with little warning, so it’s important Calgarians continue to stay informed.Visit Calgary.ca/floodinfo to sign up for emergency notifications and follow updates from The City through local media and on The City’s social media.
These conditions are current at the time of writing. Note that weather and river conditions are subject to rapid change without notice. The City is continually monitoring for changing conditions and will respond accordingly. To learn more about river flow rates, what is normal, and when flooding begins, visit our updated River Flow Rates webpage.
We recognize that the uncertainty caused by the heavy rainfall can be a challenging and emotional experience.
If you need mental health support, one of the free, confidential help lines available is @211Alberta. Dial 211, text INFO to 211 or visit https://ab.211.ca & click live chat.