A local state of emergency has been declared in Southern Alberta after the worst flooding the region has seen in over twenty years. Homes and major roads are now completely engulfed in water. Dozens of people have been evacuated from their homes, and up to 560 kilometres of major roads have been shut down.
Officials expect it to get even worse in the coming days. Typical flood season in Alberta hasn't even begun, and nothing could've prepared the province for the severity of this flooding. It has caught the entire province completely off guard.
Councillor with the Village of Beiseker says it’s the worst flooding in 20+ years. Water was up to the top of her bottom step in her basement. It was up past the second sandbag on her garage (see pics). Says water here now is a big improvement from this AM. Est. 5 homes flooded pic.twitter.com/e0lLpAK9b5— Lauren Pullen (@Lauren_Global) April 23, 2018
The state of emergency is in effect for Lethbridge County, Lamont County and Siksika Nation, among many other areas. The Siksika Nation community, hit with some of the worst effects of the flooding, is now in full "crisis" mode.
Surprisingly, the floods aren't being caused by rain, but by melting snow from the spring weather spike. Alberta temperatures are expected to soar up to 22°C this week, way above average for this time of year. Meaning that water levels are rising way faster than Alberta can keep up with.
This is from my in laws place in southern Alberta. That is the highway. Flooding like crazy. pic.twitter.com/cv5E19pfNx— Layne Abrahamson (@labrahamson13) April 16, 2018
Several homes are almost completely underwater, and many others have been damaged. Crews are working all day and night to help residents surround their homes with sandbags and pump water out of their basements. They're also working on a solution to redirect the water, which is practically getting worse by the minute.
Residents have been asked to avoid travelling in areas with high water levels, but that's not stopping people from busting out their kayaks and treating the floods like a day at the lake.
"It was pretty fun. You know, nice relaxing day on the lake," one Alberta resident said, "Lots of people stopping and taking pictures, laughing and asking me how the fishing was." At least the warm spring weather is making this serious situation a little more bearable for some.