Southern Alberta areas under state of emergency

Lethbridge County declared a local state of emergency today due to overland flooding as snow accumulations begin to rapidly melt.

The Municipal District of Taber made a similar declaration over the weekend for the same reason.

Some provincial highways around Taber were temporarily closed in recent days and numerous municipal roads remain closed due to flooding or imminent risk of flooding.

Water is inundating agricultural land in some regions of southern Alberta as water seeks an outlet.

In a news release issued this morning, Lethbridge County said overland flooding has already affected rural areas and local roads, and crews are working to alleviate build-up where water is pooling. Drainage systems are being opened and the County warned that downstream landowners could be affected.

“County Council believes that there is an imminent threat to infrastructure and property and has directed municipal staff to undertake whatever actions are necessary to protect private and public property from damage with special emphasis on the protection of residential dwellings and commercial/industrial structures,” the county said in the news release.

Several roads in the county are closed and impassable as water levels rise over road levels.

The M.D. of Taber has been dealing with overland flooding potential on and off for days. It is warning the public not to go around road barricades because they are in place for safety reasons.

Anyone in the M.D. who must leave their home due to flooding can go to the Heritage Inn in Taber, where an evacuation centre has been established.

Rain that fell overnight April 15-16 has increased the level of melt. The temperature forecast for April 16 calls for 1 C to 2 C for the rest of the day.

“Landowners are requested to not increase water flows by unnecessary pumping or excavation,” said the M.D. of Taber in a web posting.

“Additional volumes of water pumped into roadways will threaten neighbouring lands and residential properties as well as threaten irrigation and municipal infrastructure.”

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