Fast flowing water in Red Deer River reached bushes and trees along the river’s banks near Heritage Ranch as the river peaked on June 16, 2022. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Fast flowing water in Red Deer River reached bushes and trees along the river’s banks near Heritage Ranch as the river peaked on June 16, 2022. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Storm soaks Red Deer with 71 to 75 of mm of rain

Red Deer River rises 1.5 meters

It’s only halfway through June and Red Deer has already had about as much rain as it typically sees for the entire month thanks to this week’s rainstorm that dumped about 75 mm of rain on the city.

An average of 94 mm of precipitation falls in June, which is the second wettest month for the city.

While Red Deer Airport didn’t record how much rain fell, the nearby Lacombe weather station showed a total of 75.6 mm of rain fell in the area between June 12 to 15.

Meanwhile, City of Red Deer precipitation gauges showed between 61 to 80 mm of fell, for an average of 71 mm.

Sara Hoffman, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said records may have been broken, but that’s impossible to determine without observations from the Red Deer Airport.

“This was a significant event, but it’s not uncommon for large, low-pressure systems like this to dump a wide swath of rain over the province in June. It’s a pretty common pattern. The only difference was the intensity,” Hoffman said.

She said the bands of rain that affected Alberta stretched 800 km across the province. The system spun up from Montana and pushed into Alberta from the east before switching direction to cause even more severe thunderstorms and heavy localized rain in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“This was an incredibly powerful system that impacted the entirety of the prairie and a significant portion of Alberta,” Hoffman said.

Related:

‘Very dynamic’: City of Red Deer continues to monitor river for potential flood risk

The city said water level on the Red Deer River rose 1.5 metres and started to peak at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Some low-lying areas of the McKenzie Trail area have seen isolated flooding, however no trails were closed or damage to park infrastructure occurred.

If the city is satisfied the water level has not gone up by late Thursday, plans will be developed to reopen areas like Lions Campground.

Ken McMullen, the city’s director of emergency management, said the peaking of the water level on the river is one factor used when assessing flood risk.

“Other factors we consider in addition to the level of the Red Deer River is water levels on the Little Red Deer and Medicine rivers that feed into the Red Deer River downstream of the dam, how quickly snowmelt is occurring in the mountains, as well the precipitation our city and region are experiencing,” McMullen said in a statement.

Red Deer River remains under a high streamflow advisory, and some debris has been spotted in the river since Wednesday.

Residents are asked to continue to stay off the river and away from the shore. Barricades are in place.

“Please just be patient with us. For your own safety, and the safety of first responders, just heed our warnings for a few more days,” McMullen said.

The following amenities remain closed:

• All boat launches into the Red Deer River.

• Lion’s Campground.

The following amenities have reopened:

• Great Chief Park (both ball diamonds and Setters Place).

• Outdoor pool at the Recreation Centre.

• Capstone Fountain.

• Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray & Play.

• Outdoor sports fields.

For more information, visit www.reddeer.ca/flood.

Related:

Steady rain causes basement flooding across central Alberta

Hoffman said some showers are in the forecast over the next seven days.

“We do see more rain on the horizon. We’re trapped in a little bit of this unstable pattern.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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