Canada's oil capital to be shut for days after flooding

Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:18pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Southern Alberta braced for more disruption on Saturday from floods that killed at least three people, forced about 100,000 from their homes and blacked out the center of Canada's oil capital, Calgary.

Communities to the south and east of Calgary were on high alert as flood waters moved across the region. But with rainfall easing, a few residents began returning to damaged homes and authorities were hopeful that the worst might be over.

"It's morning in Calgary! Sunny, water levels are down, and our spirit remains strong," Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said on Twitter. "We're not out of this, but maybe have turned (the) corner."

The floods followed some 36 hours of unusually heavy rainfall - some communities received six months of their normal rainfall in under two days.

Evacuations started on Thursday in Calgary and in smaller cities. Utility Enmax switched off power to central Calgary on Friday afternoon lest water damage its downtown facilities, and the area was still without power and closed to cars on Saturday.

A few tourists and residents strolled in the carless streets of the city's core, but the area was eerily quiet.

Officials were unable to say how much it would cost to repair flooded homes and rebuild roads and bridges washed away by the murky brown floodwater.

But the floods are already shaping up to be significantly worse than those of 2005, which caused C$400 million ($383 million) in damage.   Continued...

An abandoned car sit submerged on a flooded street in the Mission area of Calgary, Alberta June 22, 2013. REUTERS/Melissa Renwick