Calgary, Alberta is inundated in floodwaters that have claimed at least three lives and forced 75,000 people from their homes.
A home to many First Nations and Métis, the capital of this western province sits near the confluence of the Elbow, Highwood and Bow rivers. Over the course of just one to two days, each one “rocketed up five to 10 times their normal flow rates,” the Calgary Herald reported.
The bodies of three people have been pulled from the swollen waters, according to reports. The center of the city is underwater, as are the famed Stampede grounds. Officials plan to have it dried out before the annual 10-day Stampede celebrations, scheduled to run from July 5 through 14.
It all started with a giant high-pressure system that became the unlucky hostage to a loop in the jet stream that held it in place, the Calgary Herald reported. The same phenomenon caused higher-than-normal temperatures in the Yukon as well, the newspaper said. Beginning in the Pacific, the weather system traveled over the mountains, pulling in the wet from Saskatchewan, the U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico. Then it proceeded to pour rain for up to 18 continuous hours across southwest Alberta, dumping 8.6 inches of rain in 36 hours—about half what that area usually gets in a year—in an outlying area upstream from Calgary.
“It was like this firehose of moisture,” said Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at the Weather Network, to the Herald, adding that all the weather system “just kept slamming this moisture into the mountains.”
At last report the rivers were scheduled to crest at noon in Calgary, which is on Central Time. ICTMN will keep readers updated as the story unfolds.