Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for 20 communities, Bruce Burrell said. Parts of of southern Alberta face rising floodwaters and the possibility of more rain.
The levels of the Bow and Elbow rivers are expected to peak overnight, but not drop until late Saturday at the earliest, he said.
“I have never experienced any flooding of this magnitude,” he added.
There have been no initial reports of deaths or injuries.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said military assets, including helicopters, have been deployed to assist local emergency officials with rescue and evacuation efforts.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those families who have been affected by the serious flooding in Calgary and Southern Alberta,” Harper said, adding that “any and all possible assistance” would be provided by the federal government.
A state of emergency was in effect for Calgary, according to a news release from the city. Police and fire officials were driving through communities, broadcasting the evacuation order over loudspeakers. Residents were being asked to mark their homes with an “X” to indicate they had evacuated.
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