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No boating on Bow and Elbow Rivers until further notice: City of Calgary

WATCH: With large amounts of precipitation expected in southern Alberta, city officials are warning Calgarians to stay away from the river. Adam MacVicar reports.

Calgarians are being asked to refrain from taking boats and other watercraft out on the Bow or Elbow Rivers due to a high streamflow advisory.

“A high streamflow advisory means the water levels on both rivers is rising and is expected to rise further,” Calgary Fire Department public information officer Carol Henke said.

“We are asking Calgarians and any visitors to Calgary to just stay off both rivers, and put off any activities in and around the rivers until the advisory is lifted.”

The dangerous water conditions prompted the CFD to issue a boating advisory for Calgary’s rivers.

In addition, Calgarians are being asked to be cautious around the riverbanks as the fast-moving water can erode and destabilize them, making them especially dangerous.

The high streamflow has also prompted the city to temporarily close the Glenmore Reservoir for recreational use.

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Watch out for pathway closures

Cyclists and pedestrians are asked to watch for low-lying areas where the rivers can cover trails.

Pathways at underpasses where flooding occurs will be closed over the coming days, the city said.

In instances where just the underpass is closed, Calgarians are asked to use the overland route. If a section of pathway larger than an underpass is closed, a detour will be provided.

Could Calgary be in for some flooding?

Although widespread overbank flooding is not anticipated, the city warned it can occur at any time — and the period between May 15 and July 15 is when the city is most likely to experience flooding.

According to officials, river levels are double the seasonal average for this time of year.

The rising river levels creating some concern, especially on the six-year anniversary of the Calgary flood which forced thousands to evacuate and resulted in millions of dollars in damage.

“The June period is when we do have the maximum seasonal values, but these values are nowhere close to the values we were anticipating and dealing with in 2013,” City of Calgary watershed analyst Frank Frigo, said.

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In the event water rises above the curbs on both sides of a street, Calgarians are asked to:

  • Avoid walking or driving through the water due to concealed open manholes, and instead, take an alternative route.
  • Avoid driving through a flooded underpass; it may strand you and your vehicle in rising water.
  • Stay a safe distance from storm drainage outfalls. When water rushes through a stormwater outfall and into a river or stream, it can be forceful enough to overpower and injure people.

The dreary weather couldn’t keep everyone off the river on Thursday.

A group of British soldiers being trained by local river guide Brad Olorenshaw tested their skills on the fast flowing Bow River, going over the rapids at Harvey Passage.

Although the kayakers are professional, they heeded the City’s warning.

“It’s high water, it’s pushier, there’s less options for safe landings,” Olorenshaw, said. “If you’re not someone that usually paddles with a helmet, a life-jacket and does rapids, I wouldn’t start. I wouldn’t go on the water.”

To learn more about flood risk and how to stay prepared for potential flooding, visit the City of Calgary’s website.

— With files from Adam MacVicar