The City of Red Deer continues to warn citizens of the potential for flooding.
At a press conference held this morning, City Manager Craig Curtis said although officials predict residents will see the river reach the one in 100 year flood levels, the water will not be as high as the level it was in 2005.
At 8 p.m. Thursday evening, the City declared a local state of emergency.
“That followed a flood warning that was issued upon receiving notice from Alberta Environment. They indicated that they would be releasing a significant amount of water from the Dickson Dam. The amount of water from that dam has been constantly changing based on the circumstances that they find upstream,” he said.
Declaring a state of local emergency allows the City additional resources and powers under the legislation that are required for public safety.
“The City remains on alert as the river levels are expected to reach maximum levels at noon today,” said Curtis. “They are already releasing water from the dam and that takes time to come down stream.
“We are anticipating that there will be some flooding but it will not be huge in terms of what would have been some earlier projections.”
City officials added that there is about a four-hour time lapse from when water is released from Dickson Dam to when it reaches City limits.
On Thursday night Lion’s Campground was evacuated and early this morning six residences were evacuated on 40 Ave. adjacent to the McKenzie Trail Recreation Area. These families in the McKenzie Trail area have since been allowed back into their homes but remain on a one-hour evacuation notice.
The City has also issued a warning for residents in the Woodlea area on 56 St and west of 45 Ave. About 50-60 homes are located within that area.
The City is still closing parks, trails and outdoor spaces adjacent to the Red Deer River.
City crews also continue to work to get sand bags ready in case the river levels do elevate higher than expected.
Sandbags will be made available in the neighbourhood of the McKenzie Trail Recreation Area for those who were evacuated. While further sandbagging beyond this area is not deemed necessary at this time, sandbags will be made available if and when required.
While the City will make accommodations if it is determined that further sandbagging is needed for other residential areas, sandbags are not available for the public at this time.
River levels are expected to continue to rise today; however, the City continues to receive updates from Alberta Environment and the Dickson Dam about the impact and timing of potential flooding.
The City’s water treatment plant, waste water treatment plant and Electric Light and Power substation and control buildings located in impacted areas will also be sandbagged in preparation for potential flooding.
As the situation at the Dickson Dam changes on an ongoing and regular basis, Red Deer continues to adapt and modify its forecasting of potential flood areas, Curtis said.
In high stream flow and flood conditions, the riverbank can become unstable. For their personal safety, citizens should stay away from the river until further notice. The City has also closed access to its major trailheads and warns citizens to stay off all of the trails, including those at Three Mile Bend, Bower Ponds and River Bend.