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Flood concerns are rising in southern Alberta with more than 100 mm of rain expected in some places this week. On Tuesday, authorities upgraded flood watches to warnings for communities along the Oldman River Basin.

Flood warnings issued in southern Alberta

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 5:23 PM -

The threat of rising water levels has prompted authorities to declare a local state of emergency in the county of Lethbridge, Alberta.

"Forecasting predicts potential water levels equal to levels in the 1995 flood," the county says

"Oldman River valley residents should anticipate a potential evacuation order sometime during the day  on Wednesday, June 18 depending on river levels. The County is urging residents to move livestock now as a precautionary measure.  Crews are still monitoring overland flooding in ditches, roads and culverts throughout the County."

While the county's declaration remains in effect, city of Lethbridge says it has not declared a state of emergency.

"The City of Lethbridge has NOT declared a State of Local Emergency, but are monitoring the situation closely," it says on the city's website.

"Based on projections, we are expecting the river to peak late Wednesday or early Thursday.   We are taking precautionary measures to protect our City infrastructure."

Up to 200 millimetres of rain is expected in parts of southern Alberta between Monday and Wednesday. A series of flood watches were issued for several communities on Monday and by Tuesday, the Alberta government upgraded the watches to warnings in the Oldman River Basin.

LIVE COVERAGE. WHERE AND WHEN: ON Tuesday The Weather Network cameras will be in Calgary to provide live coverage of the active weather. Reporter Deb Matejicka will provide updated information starting at 7 a.m. local

If the current projections hold, the Oldman River could rise up to 6 metres at a flow of roughly 45 hundred cubic metres per second in the City of Lethbridge.

"Up to 3 to 4 metre rises are possible in the Willow Creek basin downstream of Chain Lakes," Alberta government says in a statement.

"Once you get into triple-digit rainfall forecasts over a three-day period, localized flooding becomes a real possibility," says Weather Network meteorologist Brett Soderholm.

"That said, Alberta has learned a lot since the 2013 floods and has contingency plans in place."

Tuesday's flood potential comes almost one year after parts of Alberta were devastated by the worst flooding in Canadian history.


Thirty-two states of emergency were declared across the province starting on June 19, 2013, as the flows of three major rivers rose to almost 10 times their normal rates.

Four people were confirmed dead and over 100,000 people were displaced across the province.

ANALYSIS ON 2013 FLOODING IN ALBERTA: Two must-read, expert analysis columns from The Weather Network meteorology department. READ: Why So Much Rain? | ALSO: It Could Happen Again

It is considered the costliest disaster in Canadian history with an estimated $5 billion in damage.


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