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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Mayor of Calgary says worst of flooding yet to come



CALGARY - As many as 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, but Mayor Naheed Nenshi warned Friday the worst is yet to come in what is expected to be Calgary's most devastating flood in decades.

The waters of Bow River continued to rise early Friday and another 30-35% rise was expected by 6 a.m.
The Elbow River was already believed to have reached its peak.
"I have never seen the Bow River that high and that fast...I was here in (the floods of) 2005 and this is no comparison," Nenshi said.
Evolving evacuation orders began with about 7,000 residents in low-lying areas Thursday afternoon as torrential rain hammered the city.
And as both the Bow and Elbow rivers began to rise, cops, firefighters, EMS and civilian search-and-rescue workers went door to door to ensure Calgarians obeyed the orders.
But they eventually asked people to oversee their own evacuations and to mark an X on their front doors to show their homes were empty.

"It appears we are in for a substantial flood - like a lot of people haven't experienced in their lifetime in Calgary," emergency management director Bruce Burrell said.

City officials asked residents to find shelter with family or friends for at least the next 72 hours. The city has also opened its Emergency Operations Centre.
Burrell said the volume of water headed toward the city could be triple that seen in the floods of 2005.
Water services director Dan Limacher said water flows are eight to nine times higher than is typical for a high flow day in June.
Resident Larry Rosby heard about the evacuations on the news not long before he saw police on every floor of his apartment building telling everyone to get out.

Burrell said the volume of water headed our way could be triple that seen in the floods of 2005.
"This is going to be very significant," he said.

Director of Water Services Dan Limacher said water flows are eight to nine times higher than is typical for a high flow day in June.

Resident Larry Rosby heard about the evacuations on the news not long before he saw police on every floor of his apartment building telling everyone to get out.
He and his mother had only time to grab a backpack and blanket before they fled to the Southland Leisure Centre in a police van.
"I didn't have much time at all," he said. "It was kind of a panic."
He lives on the fifth floor of the building on 23 Ave. about three blocks from the river, but he was told he needed to leave in case the power went out or emergency crews could not reach him.

"I am born and raised in Calgary and I've never seen anything like this," he said.


Google street view (L) of 4 St. SW and 24 Ave. in Calgary, and the same intersection today (R).They signed into the centre and then were set up in a local hotel. He said the whole situation is a little startling.


On Friday, city officials pleaded with Calgarians who work in the core to avoid going to work.
Schools, roads and entire communities were shut down.
Nenshi said nobody should be travelling anywhere they don't have to.

"Knock on wood, we haven't had any injuries (and) we haven't had any loss of life," Nenshi said.
Not everyone fled their homes Thursday, however.
Burrell said a small number - he was uncertain how many - refused to evacuate, and while those people can still ask for aid, they've left themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.
"You're always going to get the odd person who does not want to leave their home," Burrell said.
"We're not going to force them."
Throughout the night and into Friday morning, Calgary Zoo officials scrambled to get some of their animals to other locations on the grounds.
Zoo spokeswoman Laurie Skene said currently all animals remain on the grounds and are safe.
At one point, she said, the possibility of moving the zoo's big cats into cells in the lower levels of the courthouse was discussed as a backup plan but never became necessary.
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