CALGARY — As flood waters began to recede slightly Saturday, residents in six evacuated communities were allowed back into their homes.
Residents in the upper parts of Discovery Ridge were allowed to return home early in the morning while the all-clear was given just before 6 p.m. to those evacuated from Quarry Park, Riverbend, Douglasdale and Deer Run.
The mandatory evacuation order was also lifted for part of downtown.
Reiterating the city is still in a state of emergency, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the flow rates of the Bow and Elbow rivers had fallen slightly, but both were still extremely swollen.
The flow of the Elbow River below the Glenmore Dam, sitting just under 700 cubic-metres per second in recent days, had dropped to 400 cubic-metres per second Saturday afternoon, Nenshi told reporters.
That’s a stark contrast to the 170 cubic-metres per second usually seen when the river reaches its highest levels annually.
“These are still incredibly high numbers but we do believe the peak has passed on the Elbow and we will continue to see a gradual decline,” Nenshi said.
Nenshi said “considerable water remains throughout downtown,” and it will be “the middle of this week” at the earliest before residents will be allowed back in and business able to open.
Enmax president Dale McMaster said there are some 30,000 customers without power and he doesn’t expect further outages.
“Electricity and water, they don’t mix well,” he said.
With the Calgary Stampede scheduled to start in less than two weeks and much of the grounds underwater, Nenshi said “the show will go on.”
The nearby Scotiabank Saddledome remains flooded and the Zambonis, dressing rooms, and much of the Calgary Flames’ memorbilia has been destroyed, Flames president Ken King said. But he said the arena will be cleaned up in time for the season.
“No one in the city, I don’t think, anticipated the gravity of this flood. When you see the photos and video of it its very difficult to describe millions of gallons of water sitting in that building. The stage is floating. The dressing rooms are totally submerged. Everything on that level is gone,” King said.
The Calgary Zoo will be shuttered for two weeks, as much of it is under water. Spokeswoman Trish-Exton Parder on Saturday said none of the attraction’s estimated 1,100 animals have been injured and all have been accounted for.
-- With files from Nadia Moharib and Eric Francis
Up top is a photo from Google Street View of the intersection of 4 St. SW and 24 Ave. Below is a photo of the same corner taken this morning by Calgary Sun photographer Jim Wells.
People travel from a co-op store on a combine harvester in High River in Alberta, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Sturk
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