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More rain, snow for flooding Alberta

Staff writers
June 9, 2012 — Melting snow and heavy rain led to flooding in southern Alberta this week. Water levels dropped Friday, but more rain is forecast and the town of Canmore even got a dose of snow added to the mix.

Snow in Canmore Saturday added to flood fears
Snow in Canmore Saturday added to flood fears

River forecasters are keeping a close eye on the skies in Alberta this weekend. 

High water is starting to subside in many of the southern rivers, lowering the flood risk. However, there remains an above-average snowpack in the mountains, and significant rainfall could raise the risk once again. 

In Canmore, matters have been complicated by a June snowfall. Between five and 10 cm of wet snow was expected for that area Saturday. Officials asked residents to check their basements for potential flooding. 

Canmore spokeswoman Sally Caudill said the situation was in hand, but the town was preparing sandbags as a precaution.

"The river level is coming down, but we are still predicting rain or high temperatures, which will impact the snowmelt," she said. "So right now, things are under control, but ... it's probably not over quite yet."

Elsewhere in Alberta, officials are still warning people to stay away from rivers in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. 

And more rain is expected over the weekend. A low pressure system developing over Central Alberta will continue to bring heavy rain to the Foothills this weekend.  Heavy rainfall will begin to taper off overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning.  

"We're looking at more rain over the weekend," says Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "In fact, anywhere from 20 - 50 mm of rain could fall in the mountains through Sunday morning."

Ferry traffic has been affected by the rising waters, and some rivers have already spilled their banks. 

City officials in Calgary are advising against any boating on the Bow River due to the swollen waters.

Several major roads across the region have also been flooded.

Weekend rainfall forecast
Weekend rainfall forecast

Officials are keeping a close eye on Elbow River as well. It has risen by almost a metre in the last few days. 

In Banff, sandbagging efforts have begun with additional rainfall expected this weekend. Some residents say this is the highest they've ever seen the river at this time of year. 

Banff spokeswoman Diana Waltmann said water levels had gone down about half a metre since Thursday, but the town was keeping an eye on the forecast and was prepared to put down more sandbags if needed.  

People in Alberta are being told to avoid any recreational activities near waterways and to be aware of possible hidden erosion along shorelines. 

Check Alberta river warnings and advisories for updates.

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