Alta. flood forecast downgraded, but communities still on alert

A reduction in both recorded and anticipated southern Alberta rainfall has reduced flood forecasts, but several communities remain in declared states of emergency, including Lethbridge County, Claresholm and the Blood Reserve.

Alberta Environment forecasters said heavy rainfall did not fall over as wide an area as expected. The rainstorm was centred in the Waterton Lakes area, where up to 170 millimetres had fallen as of this morning.

However, rainfall dissipated in the Lethbridge region this afternoon, prompting officials to predict much lower expected peak flow in the Oldman River, at about 1,700 cubic metres per second expected by early Friday morning.

The most recent forecast for Medicine Hat is a high of 2,380 metres per second, with the South Saskatchewan expected to peak Saturday morning.

In other regions, rainfall amounts as of this afternoon are:

Upper Waterton: 110-170 mm

Belly River basin: 120 mm

St. Mary basin: 110 mm

Willow Creek basin: 80 mm

Oldman River basin: 70 mm

Castle/Crow river basins: 130 mm

Highwood River basin: 40 mm

Snow has also fallen in higher elevations.

Flood warnings remain for tributaries of the Crowsnest River, the Waterton, South Saskatchewan and Belly rivers, and for Willow Creek downstream of Chain Lakes and Waterton Lake.

Other waterways have been downgraded to flood watch status, including the Castle, Oldman and St. Mary rivers, Lee Creek and Pincher Creek. However, the latter creek continues to rise.

Overland flooding is significant in several areas of southern Alberta. The Belly, Lee, Waterton, Crowsnest and Willow basins have all flooded to various degrees, with some farmland flooded and several people evacuated from homes along rivers.

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