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The Globe and Mail

Alberta government says storm that flooded 500 homes is weakening

A teenager pours water out of her boot after wading through flood waters in a park in Claresholm, Alta., on June 18, 2014.


The Alberta government says as many as 500 homes have experienced some sort of flooding because of heavy rains in the southwestern part of the province.

But there was good news Thursday – forecasters say the storm that has soaked the area for most of the week was weakening.

"At this point, the storm is basically petering out," Evan Friesenhan, director of river forecasting for Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development, said Thursday.

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"It's now where we watch the impacts and the flood peaks begin to occur and the wave."

On the Blood reserve, about 200 kilometres south of Calgary, 130 homes have flooded and 350 people were forced to leave.

Reserve spokesman Rick Tail Feathers said "a wicked amount of rain" fell, but there was hope things would get better soon.

"Hopefully it's going to start to recede, but it's left quite a bit of damage in its wake," said Tail Feathers.

"There's a number of houses with flooded basements. Some of the roads were impassable because there was overland flooding over the road. It's still a state of emergency, however ... the rain's going to eventually stop today, so that's good."

In Lethbridge, 300 homes have been damaged, most due to sewer backups.

In Claresholm, a town of 3,800 about 130 kilometres south of Calgary, as many as 40 homes have damaged by rainwater that overwhelmed sewer systems.

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"We are still considering ourselves very fortunate with this event," said Stephen Carr, with Alberta Emergency Management Agency. "I don't think you could say in this event that communities were caught off guard or they were unprepared."

Alberta is preparing to mark the one-year anniversary of a flood that forced 100,000 from their homes in Calgary and surrounding area and did an estimated $6 billion in damage.

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