Thousands of people are now returning home as rivers recede in Calgary after record-breaking floods that brought chaos to parts of western Canada. The floods swamped the province of Alberta and claimed the lives of at least three people with one person still missing.
More than 100,000 people were forced to leave their homes after 36 hours of unusually heavy rain pushed the volume of water in the rivers to record levels. Some areas received the equivalent of six months rain in just two days.
The Elbow and Bow rivers surged over their banks last Thursday, but it still took another three days for the water levels to actually peak. In Medicine Hat, Alberta, thousands of people have left their homes as the waters rose on the Saskatchewan River. The river’s banks were breached in places on Sunday morning with the highest waters still not expected until the following day.
Meanwhile, services are now being restored to parts of Calgary as the parts of the city start to dry out. The mayor does not anticipate anyone returning to work before the middle of the week at the earliest. The rodeo and fair grounds of the world-famous Calgary stampede were also swamped, but they are optimistic that things can be cleared up in time for the show to open on July 5.
Around 27 communities in Alberta are still under a state of emergency. More than 2,200 military personnel are involved in the flood relief efforts, along with nine helicopters as the flooding moves east.
In Saskatchewan, efforts are under way to move more than 2,000 people from their homes in a flood-prone part of the province’s northeast.