Environment Canada ended all heavy rainfall warnings in Alberta on Wednesday as the weather system moved east into Saskatchewan, but the city of Calgary said its state of local emergency would remain in effect.
The weather agency said areas in Saskatchewan – including Buffalo Narrows, La Ronge and Meadow Lake – could expect between 50 millimetres and 70 millimetres of rain before the end of the day. There was also a wind warning for gusts up to 90 km/h in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.
Preparations for potential flooding were under way in Calgary and other communities, including High River and Red Deer, as rivers swelled and before the rain warnings ended.
Alberta Environment said a cold low front brought heavy precipitation to much of central and southern Alberta since Sunday.
“Widespread areas of Alberta received up to 30 millimetres of rain,” said Lisa Jackson, executive director of Alberta Enviroment’s emergency management branch.
“Heavier amounts were observed west of Calgary and south to Pincher Creek and, in these areas of heavier rain, 80 to 100 millimetres was observed.”
Another five to 20 millimetres was still expected Wednesday, she added.
Jackson said no major flooding had been reported to the province and most rivers flowing out of the foothills had peaked or were peaking soon.
Calgary said in a statement earlier in the day that it had received less precipitation than expected. It added that the Elbow River had reached its peak flow and the Bow River was expected to crest in the afternoon.
“We want to remind Calgarians to stay off the river and continue to exercise caution while the state of local emergency is in place,” Sue Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said in the statement.
“The flood resiliency planning and mitigations undertaken since 2013 have continued to support our response to this weather event.”
The city closed several parks along the Bow River as a precaution. Henry said they would remain closed until further notice.
Officials also closed Memorial Drive, a major east-west roadway along the river, to build a temporary berm to help protect communities north of the river. The berm was to remain in place until the peak of the system moved through the city.
Alberta Environment said several provincial parks and recreation areas were closed.
“Please check before you head out as these areas are reporting flooding and unsafe conditions,” said Jackson.
Some roads, she said, were also closed following the heavy precipitation.
“Highwood Pass at Highway 40 is closed due to avalanche danger,” said Jackson, who noted Highwood Pass got 65 centimetres of snow in the last few days.
“This snow provided some relief and really reduced some of the runoff and helps reduce those flood peaks,” Jackson said.
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