Calgary (Canada): Water levels dropped, providing a measure of relief to the western Canadian city of Calgary, hit hard by floods that devastated much of southern Alberta province, causing at least three deaths and forcing thousands to evacuate.
The flooding forced authorities to evacuate Calgary`s entire downtown and hit some of the city`s iconic structures hard. The Saddledome, home to the National Hockey League`s Calgary Flames, was flooded up to the 10th row, leaving the dressing rooms submerged.
Flames` president and CEO Ken King said today that the Saddledome is a "real mess," with water still up to row 8 of the lower bowl. He said the flooding had caused a total loss on the event level with all mechanical equipment submerged under 15 feet of water.
"If you were a hockey player walking out of the tunnel to the ice, you`d be underwater yourself," he said during a news conference.
Water lapped at the roof of the chuckwagon barns at the grounds of the Calgary Stampede, which is scheduled to start in two weeks. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said the city will do everything it can to make sure that the world-renowned party goes ahead.
Bruce Burrell, director of the city`s emergency management agency, said today they are seeing improvements in the rivers. Dan Limacher, director of water services for the city, said the Elbow river is expected to recede by about 60 per cent over the next two days, while the larger Bow river will recede by about 25 per cent.
The improving conditions today morning prompted Calgary`s mayor to tweet: "It`s morning in Calgary! Sunny, water levels are down, and our spirit remains strong. We`re not out of this, but maybe have turned corner."
However, Nenshi said later today that while the city may have turned a corner, there is still a state of emergency in effect.
"Flows on Elbow and Bow (rivers) are dropping slowly. We do believe the peak has passed on the Elbow. However, water levels are still four times higher than 2005 flood levels," he said during a press conference.
Overflowing rivers on Thursday and Friday washed out roads and bridges, soaked homes and turned streets into dirt-brown waterways around southern Alberta.
High River, southwest of Calgary, was one of the hardest-hit areas and remained under a mandatory evacuation order. Police said they have recovered three bodies in the town.