MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Thousands of people in eastern Alberta are under orders to evacuate as rivers rise, while some residents in the province’s southwest are returning home as floodwaters in their communities recede.
The powerful South Saskatchewan River is rising in the eastern Alberta city of Medicine Hat, and is expected to crest tomorrow morning.
The river is already lapping over its banks in low-lying areas and people are busy laying down thousands of sandbags.\
A city spokesman says several senior’s recreational centres have been cleared out and parts of Medicine Hat near the river have been closed.
Mayor Norm Boucher says some residents are refusing to obey the evacuation order and he warns that officials can’t guarantee their safety.
Police have been dispatched to remove them from their homes as city officials prepare for flooding.
GALLERY: Images of Alberta flooding
Emergency Management Director Ron Robinson says that could include shutting down the Trans-Canada Highway.
If that happens, he says the city would be divided into north and south zones.
Further north, the community of Drumheller – famous for its dinosaur park – has also declared a local state of emergency as the Red Deer River rises quickly.
Meanwhile, to the west in Calgary, floodwaters are slowly going down, but officials warn that the city is still in emergency mode.
Emergency Management Agency Director Bruce Burrell says teams of engineers are out assessing structures and looking at the damage, but they are also working on getting people back home.
Watch: Aerial view of flooded Stampede Park