June 13, 2018 4:49 pm
Updated: June 14, 2018 9:53 am

Rising river affects Highway 2 and infrastructure in northern Alberta community, triggers flood warning

Aerial photo taken on June 13, 2018 of flooding at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 33 east of Driftpile, Alta.

COURTESY: Kevin Sloan

Officials with Big Lakes County in northern Alberta said Wednesday afternoon that preparations were being made to have a reception centre, if needed, as rising water on the Driftpile River prompted a flood warning.

“The Driftpile River continues to rise and is affecting infrastructure in the communities in the areas of the Driftpile River and Swan River,” officials said in an information alert, adding the emergency operations centre in Big Lakes County remains open.

“Residents are encouraged to shelter in place until conditions improve.”

County officials began expressing concerns about the rising waterway on Tuesday and people in the Driftpile area were warned to avoid rivers, valleys and low-lying areas.

“[Rising water on the Driftpile River] is currently affecting Highway 2,” officials said on Wednesday. “The Driftpile River stream-flow gauge has malfunctioned, although field crews will be dispatched for maintenance when it is safe to do so.”

A map showing parts of Alberta. The community of Driftpile is marked by the red indicator.

CREDIT: Google Maps

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Meanwhile, a flood watch has been issued for Swan River as the waterway continued to rise overnight and is also affecting Highway 2. However, officials said “the stream-flow gauge indicates that water levels may be peaking and no further significant water level rises (on the Swan River) are expected at this time.

High stream-flow advisories have been issued for the East Prairie River and the West Prairie River.

On Wednesday night, officials said there was local flooding in the area of the South Heart River near Winagami Wildland Park.

They added that Highway 2 at the Driftpile Bridge was reopened after it was closed.

On Thursday morning, one lane of Highway 2 at the Highway 33 junction and Highway 2 at the Swan River Bridge was reopened with pilot vehicles.

The Alberta Emergency Alert update also said there was local flooding in the area of the South Heart River near Winagami Wildland Park.

For the latest information on flooding concerns in Big Lakes County, click here.

READ MORE: Local state of emergency issued as water levels rise in Lesser Slave River

The fllooding concerns come as the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River No. 124 declared a local state of emergency in that community because of rising water levels. The M.D. Is located about 110 kilometres east of Driftpile, Alta. Driftpile is located about 326 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

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