More Alberta cities brace for flooding

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CALGARY — Drumheller, Alta., and Medicine Hat, Alta., were preparing for an onslaught of water, as Calgary began cleanup after its own.

Monday morning, midnight or soon after, the City of Drumheller is expecting to hit its peak flow.

Drumheller Mayor Terry Yemen said he believed his city was prepared for the flood — up to 1,300 cubic metres per second, at least.

"It is probably going to be another six hours of flow at that level until we’re going to see the river starting to go down," Yemen said in a video message.

"All information that we have tells us that we’re prepared. It’s going to be 1,300 cubic metres per second and that’s what we’re prepared for."

Evacuation notices were handed out in some areas.

The East Coulee Community Centre has been sandbagged, the reception centre is open to evacuees, acute and continuing care patients have been moved from Drumheller Health Centre, and schools have cancelled classes, the city stated on its website.

Drumheller Mounties are advising residents to stay off the roads, sidewalks and bridges for their own safety.

Meanwhile, in Medicine Hat, emergency planners and residents awaited a rush of angry waters of their own as the South Saskatchewan River continued to rise.

The river was expected to peak Monday morning about 9 a.m., and again, the city felt it was adequately prepped for the oncoming flood.

Emergency Management deputy director Murray Morton said his people "have been scrambling."

"We’re hopeful with where we’re at," he told media.

"Our logistics staff are confident we do have everything we need (and) we do have contingency plans."

Learning lessons from communities flooded out in the days prior, Medicine Hat spent the weekend preparing to be overwhelmed with water.

The Trans-Canada Hwy. bridge was closed Sunday evening, following the closures of the Maple Ave. and Finlay bridges earlier in the day.

Evacuation notices were handed out in some areas and services were shut down.

An urgent care facility has been set up to run around-the-clock, while additional staff and provisions are in place for other city locations.

Seventy inmates at the remand centre have been transferred — 40 to Calgary, 30 to Lethbridge, Alta. — and weekend prisoners have been allowed leave.

On Twitter: @SUNDamienWood