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High River overrun with water
Michael Franklin, Colleen Schmidt & Andrea MacLean, CTV Calgary
Published Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:00AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, June 21, 2013 6:42PM MDT
RCMP officers are going door to door in High River ensuring all houses and businesses are vacated. The town is under a mandatory evacuation order.
First responders are using vehicles, boats and, in some cases, are dropped in by helicopters in order to complete the search.
The town is under a flash flood alert. There is extremely dangerous and rapid flooding occurring.
An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued at about 8:15 a.m. Friday telling residents to stay away from any water source.
A mandatory evacuation order is in effect and High River has been forced to evacuate its evacuation centres due to high floodwaters.
Residents who took shelter at Highwood High School and Charles Clark Medical Centre were moved to the neighbouring town of Nanton and the hamlet of Blackie.
Alberta Health Services is evacuating the High River General Hospital and two continuing care facilities.
Patients at the hospital will be relocated to other facilites and families will be contacted as to where their relatives have been moved to.
Families can also call Health Link at 1-866-408-5465.
“I want to assure affected patients and their families that we are ensuring patient care and safety is maintained,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health.
RCMP are advising against travel in the area.
"We came out to see the parking lot and everything was flooded and we quickly tried to get our vehicles to higher ground but we were stuck," said Julie Burridge.
"This was a lot worse than it was in 1995 and there's a lot more water going down First Avenue," said George Dearing.
Bridges over the Highwood River are closed as the water is too high and debris is getting jammed underneath.
"This town has been on high alerts for decades. They know that every time they have spring run offs, there's a danger. We always cross our fingers hoping that we'll dodge the bullet, we didn't do it this year. I'm hoping there's not going to be a lot of damage, but we already hearing some pretty bad stories coming," said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith.
ATCO has been called in to shut off the gas to a number of properties.
The electricity will remain off until search and rescues are finished and the water has receded to a sage level.
RCMP and Canadian Forces are securing people's property and keeping people from entering the town.
Family members trying to reach evacuees can call Blackie Rink at 403-351-1076 and Nanton recreation Complex at 403-646-2961.