Calgary, Alberta, Mayor Naheed Nenshi ordered the evacuation of up to 100,00 people Friday from at least 25 Calgary neighborhoods, the CBC reported. Residents may not be able to return to their homes for up to one week, officials said
All public and private schools in the city were closed Friday, and Nenshi told residents to avoid all non-essential travel. Director of Calgary Emergency Management Agency Bruce Burrell pleaded travel into downtown be limited to essential only.
Many bridges and stretches of major roadways were closed to traffic due to encroaching high water.
Throughout the night Thursday and into the morning, Calgary Zoo scrambled to get some of its animals to other locations on the grounds. Zoo spokeswoman Laurie Skene said currently all animals remain on the grounds and are safe.
Mayor Nenshi said the worst was yet to come, as the Bow River waters continued to rise significantly during Friday’s early hours.
Premier Alison Redford is calling the flooding crisis an “absolutely tragic situation” as she went to see some of the aftermath of the devastation in southern Alberta. In a statement, Redford said the province is working closely with the federal government.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying the federal government would offer “any and all possible assistance to the Province of Alberta in response to the situation.”
Redford stated, “I am pleased that the Prime Minister pledged the federal government’s full support in our ongoing recovery and rescue efforts.
The RCMP put out a call for help to the Canadian Armed Forces, which sent in two helicopters and a Hercules aircraft to help extract people stranded by water.
Estimates of the potential damages this flood has caused isn’t being considered right now as both the city and province focus on the current state of emergency.
The Bow River Basin was battered with up to 100 mm of rain and water levels aren’t expected to subside until Saturday afternoon. Officials issued a flood warning for the Bow River and parts of the Elbow River.
The Bow and Elbow rivers were expected to crest between midnight and 2 a.m. local time Saturday, the CBC said.
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