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Severe flooding in southern Alberta


A picture of the recent flooding in High River, Alberta.
A picture of the recent flooding in High River, Alberta.

Jill Colton, staff writer

May 27, 2011 — A state of emergency was declared in High River, Alberta after a river broke its banks Friday.

The heavy rain has contributed to the flooding.
The heavy rain has contributed to the flooding.

Heavy rain inundated the swollen Highwood River in High River, south of Calgary, causing severe flooding.

It has been raining since Monday across southern Alberta, and some areas, including High River, have seen more than 60 mm.

The water flooded a subdivision and forced the mandatory evacuation of 80 homes.

According to Joan Pletz, town spokesperson, the water hasn't seeped into the houses yet, but it's about a foot high on the street.

“If you could just arrange to have the rain stop that would help,” she said in an interview Friday.

The town says that the dike of one community was breached, but it has since been repaired.

Pletz said the Highwood River appeared to be slowing down and behaving itself.

But this isn't the case everywhere.

For some people, the flooding has been a nightmare. Calgary emergency responders rescued a family near Millarville when their vehicle became submerged.

Three adults and an infant were saved from the rushing waters. Initially, the driver of the vehicle thought there was only a few inches of water but soon found it was more than a metre deep.

High water levels have caused thousands of road closures throughout the Prairies.
High water levels have caused thousands of road closures throughout the Prairies.

The high water levels have prompted the Alberta government to close parts of Red Lodge and Wyndham-Carseland provincial parks.

Officials are hoping for a repeat of 2008 when minor flooding kept people out of their homes for a day and a half.

2005 was a different story -- High River suffered millions of dollars in damage when the river burst its banks. More than 700 people were forced to flee their homes.

Currently an evacuation centre is set up. People are also reaching out on Facebook, offering affected residents a place to stay.

Flooding has been a ever-present threat for many living in the Prairies this year. Southern Manitoba residents were affected by a controlled flood on the Assiniboine River earlier this month.

Farmers in Saskatchewan have had a difficult time seeding fields because of the water-logged soil.

And even residents in southern and southeastern British Columbia are now dealing with high water levels

For the latest flood details in your area, head to the Alberta Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV. The local forecast comes up at the top and bottom of each hour.

With files from The Canadian Press

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