Alberta's Peace River flooding worsens, evacuations expand
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 10:21 AM - Local states of emergency and flood evacuations have been issued in central and northern Alberta as ice jams on the Athabasca, Peace and Beaverlodge rivers have resulted in high water levels. Emergency officials say significant water is preventing any safe access to the area.
- Flooding continues in Alberta's Woodlands and Mackenzie counties, as well as Grande Prairie
- Mandatory evacuation issued Sunday afternoon for flood risk residents of Fort Vermilion
- Temperatures slowly rebound mid-week after a cool start to the week. Next warm-up quickly spreads west to east during the weekend and into next week.
CRITICAL ALERTS ISSUED FOR FLOODING
Alberta Emergency Alert has maintained critical alerts for Woodlands and Mackenzie Counties.
A state of local emergency remains in effect for both Flats Road in the area of Whitecourt and Fort Assiniboine in the Pride Valley Area, according to Woodland County's website.
WATCH BELOW: WHAT IS AN ICE JAM?
An ice jam still remains in the Whitecourt area, which forced the evacuation of 34 residents. Four residents were evacuated in the area of Pride Valley east of Fort Assiniboine, a Monday report reads. "The locations and occurrence of ice jams and possible associated flooding are very unpredictable," warns the Government of Alberta.
The ice jam warning for the Peace River from Atlas Landing to Fox Lake and Garden Creek, including Fort Vermilion, remains in effect.
River levels have dropped at Fort Vermilion, but the warning will remain in place until the ice front recedes past Garden Creek. A statement from the Government of Alberta reveals that "rapid fluctuations in river levels may be experienced. Locations that could be impacted by the dynamic breakup of the Peace River include communities downstream of Fort Vermilion along the Peace River to the Peace Athabasca Delta."
"Barricades and signs are being placed. People are asked to please avoid the area," the county website highlights.
Residents are encouraged to leave the area if it is safe to do so.
According to officials, field staff continue to monitor the situations and will update residents as the situation changes.
Meanwhile, in Mackenzie County, a mandatory evacuation was issued Sunday afternoon for flood risk residents of Fort Vermilion. More than 200 people in the area left their homes by early evening on Sunday.
"Emergency crews will be going door to door to notify residents," a Mackenzie County public notice reads. "Buses will be provided for those without transportation."
Residents are required to register at the designated reception centre at the Mackenzie County office located at 4511-46th Ave. in Fort Vermilion.
Mackenzie County spokesperson Byron Peters told CBC that the river had risen about two metres in one hour Sunday morning.
In Grande Prairie, water levels have yet to recede. Officials are urging residents to stay away from the Bear Creek corridor and Muskoseepi Park. The park remains closed until a thorough damage assessment has been completed.
"Pedestrian bridges, paths, creek banks, and other park infrastructure will be inspected for safety before the park reopens," a Grande Prairie news release issued Sunday reads.
Check back for updates as we continue to monitor the forecast.