The City of Edmonton warned people to stay away from the North Saskatchewan River late Friday afternoon because of its “rapidly rising water levels.”
“Water levels are expected to increase three metres in the next 48 hours and could result in excess debris in the river as well as walking trails and boat launches being submerged in low-lying areas,” the city said in a news release.
The city asked Edmontonians to keep boats off the river and pets away from the waterway.
“Park users are asked to obey all signs and detours,” the city said. “Anyone who sees a person or animal in need of rescue should not enter the water, but call 911.”
Jason Penner, a spokesperson for Alberta Environment and Parks, said the rising water on the river is the result of rain that started to fall on Wednesday.
“Current water levels for the North Saskatchewan River at Edmonton are higher than average for this time of year,” he said in an email.
He added that while the river’s high water level is “mainly due to runoff from an above-average plains snowpack in the basin upstream of Edmonton,” 30 to 60 millimetres of precipitation — with higher local amounts of up to 90 millimetres — have fallen since Wednesday.
“This has caused several tributaries of the North Saskatchewan River to rise as well as the North Saskatchewan River downstream of Rocky Mountain House,” Penner said. “As a result, the province’s river forecast centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for these areas.
“Water level rises of three to four metres are expected on the North Saskatchewan River downstream of Rocky Mountain House.”
Penner said that while “no widespread flooding is expected at this time,” low-lying areas and trails adjacent to the river may be affected.
Water levels in Edmonton are forecast to peak “on Saturday and into Sunday, after which water levels are expected to slowly recede,” he added.
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