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Canmore flood prompts state of emergency, mass evacuation

By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   June 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

The mountain town of Canmore in southern Canada is currently in a state of emergency after torrential rains swelled the town's creek, flooding the city on Thursday.

“The situation is actually bad and getting worse,” Canmore Mayor John Borrowman said. “Now some of the smaller creeks are starting to flood.”

About 40 homes south of a pedestrian bridge over Cougar Creek were evacuated at 2 a.m. Thursday as officials determined it was not safe for residents to remain there.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police asked the Canadian Armed Forces to help residents who were trapped in washed out roads to get to safety. The latter sent in two helicopters and a Hercules aircraft to help extract people who were trapped in the water.

Bruce Burrell, the director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said the water level on the Bow River is not expected to descend until Saturday afternoon.

The flood affected people from "Banff and Canmore and Crowsnest Pass in the Rockies, to Calgary and beyond in the north and south to Lethbridge," the National Post reported.

According to City of Calgary officials, as many as 100,000 people in low-lying neighborhoods may have to abandon their homes due to heavy flooding. An evacuation is scheduled to take place over the coming weeks.

The Alberta Energy Regulator reported that a gas leak near Turner Valley may have been prompted by the flooding. The flow of toxic gas has since been turned off. According to the Town of Canmore's website, power has been restored "everywhere but Palisser at this point."

Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 1A as well were shut down in every direction at Cougar Creek.

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