On Tuesday afternoon, the city warned Edmontonians to stay away from the North Saskatchewan River as water levels were forecast to see a “dramatic increase” overnight due to heavy rainfall in the foothills.
“We’re asking people to stay away from the river altogether,” Edmonton Fire Services Acting Platoon Chief Randy Shakura said, explaining that the increase would change a normally safe river into one that is extremely dangerous.
“Typically these events draw a lot of interest because it’s somewhat unique and it’s not very common, especially at this time of year. It’s typically more of a lower river level time, this time of year. We’re just asking people to just stay away.”
Shakura said Tuesday afternoon that the river conditions were going to get quite dangerous in the following 12 hours.
A high streamflow advisory was issued for the North Saskatchewan River east of Rocky Mountain House. According to the Alberta River Forecast Centre, the river (within Edmonton) was expected to rise three metres by Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning the city announced the following trails had been closed due to flooding: Lower Highlands granular trail, Capilano to Goldbar lower granular trail, Emily Murphy to Kinsmen granular trail, Fort Edmonton granular trail.
Alberta Environment said recent rainfall brought brought between 30 to 80 millimetres of precipitation to parts of central and northern Alberta, with local areas receiving up to 100 millimetres, or nearly four inches.
The foothills, stretching from Swan Hills to Sundre, received the highest amount of rain. A large swath of that stretch makes up the North Saskatchewan River watershed.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was told by Alberta Environment to expect the water levels to rise between three and four metres.
Watch Below: The water level on the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton is rising rapidly and officials say it could rise by three to four metres on Wednesday. As Sarah Kraus reports on Global News at 11, emergency officials are urging the public to stay away from the waterway.
Shakura said officials expect minor flooding in the trail system, more debris in the river and erosion of river banks.
“Even just standing on the river bank is going to be hazardous.”
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services protects 70 kilometres of the river in Edmonton. It’s asking people to just stay away from the river until further notice.
Shakura said if you see someone fall in the river, call 911 and instruct the person to face downstream and put their feet up. Do not try to rescue this person.
Edmonton’s utility services branch will monitor the river levels and potential flooding over the next 24 hours.
The conditions are forecasting for the water to “overflow the banks slightly,” Chris Ward said.
However, the city is not expecting any private property will be flooded.
“If it goes higher than expected, we’ll put those procedures in place to protect private property.”
The city suggests people move valuables out of the basement or an underground garage to higher ground and park vehicles away from street depressions or move them to higher ground.
More to come…
Watch below: Edmontonians are being warned to stay away from the North Saskatchewan River as the water is rising rapidly. Margeaux Morin has more on why officials are taking steps to alert the public about the danger.