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Canada floods

June 22, 2013

After heavy rain and severe flooding, life in Canada's oil capital is beginning to return to normal. But in areas to the south and east, downriver the flood waters are threatening other communities.

A Calgary resident wades through flood water. Photo: AP.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The floods in Calgary in the west of Canada, followed some 36 hours of unusually heavy rainfall - some communities received six months of their normal rainfall in less than two days.

Southern Alberta was facing more disruption on Saturday from floods that have killed at least two people and forced about 100,000 people from their homes and blacked out the center of Canada's oil capital, the city of Calgary.

Two major rivers, the Bow and the Elbow meet in the city. Scott Crowson, a kayaker, estimated the Bow river, usually about four feet (1.2 meters) deep, was running at a depth of 15 feet. "It's moving very, very fast," he said. "I've never seen it so big and so high." The Bow was still flowing at around five times its normal rate on Saturday.

The costs for repairing flooded homes and rebuilding roads and bridges washed away are not yet known. They are expected to be higher than those for the flooding in 2005, which caused C$400 million (291 million euros, US$3.82 million) in damage after three storms struck in a single week.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford warned that communities downstream of Calgary had not yet felt the full force of the floodwaters. The ten thousand residents of the town of Medicine Hat, downstream from Calgary, have a mandatory evacuation order in place.

As the sun rose in Calgary on Saturday morning, some of the 75,000 flood evacuees were being allowed back to their homes. Problems with power supplies and damage to roads and bridges will take some time to repair.

jm/jlw (Reuters, AP)