Canada – Evacuations After Ice Jams Cause Rivers to Rise in Alberta

Update, 29 April 2020:

As of 28 April, almost 13,000 people had evacuated their homes in Fort McMurray and surrounding area (Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo). Media reported 1 flood-related fatality in the area.

In Fort Vermillion, around 2,000 people are thought to have evacuated. As of 29 April there were signs the flood water had started to recede.

Original report, 27 April 2020:

Evacuations were ordered in Alberta, Canada, after snow melt and ice jams caused rivers to rise from around 25 April.

ice jam on the Athabasca River, Alberta, April 2020. Photo: Government of Alberta

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo declared a state of emergency on 26 April due to high water levels of the Athabasca, Snye and Clearwater rivers.

The government of Alberta said: “The ice cover broke up in Fort McMurray around 5 am on the morning of April 26, forming an ice jam downstream of town. The ice jam raised water levels along the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers between 4.5 and 6 m at Fort McMurray.”

Meanwhile an Ice Jam Warning for the Peace River from Sunny Valley to Fort Vermillion remains in effect. According to the provincial government, “the breaking ice front stalled and a 40 km ice jam is now in place upstream of Fort Vermilion…The jam could release at any time. Potentially impacted residents have been evacuated.”

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