The centre of Calgary has been ordered to be evacuated as floodwaters rose following heavy rains across Alberta.
An estimated 230,000 people live or work in the city centre but with flooding worsening many stayed away. Up to 75,000 people have already been evacuated from other parts of the city. Calgary’s Saddledome stadium was submerged up to the tenth row of seats.
At least a dozen other towns in the state of Alberta have declared a state of emergency, with some placed under mandatory evacuation orders. One woman is feared dead after her mobile home was washed away near Black Diamond, and 30 were rescued by helicopter from rooftops in High River.
State Premier Alison Redford, describing the flooding as “absolutely tragic”, urged residents to heed orders to leave their homes: “People really must leave, although it is an extremely difficult thing to do.”
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was hopeful the flooding had peaked on Friday despite forecasts of three more inches of rain by Saturday.
Hundreds of troops have been sent to the region to help with evacuations.