Fort Macleod and other communities on the Oldman River remain under a flood watch even though the river appears to have reached its peak.
Alberta government officials said during a 2 p.m. news conference the Oldman River is peaking.
“At this point the storm is basically petering out,” said Evan Friesenhan, director of the river forecasting section of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development.
Fort Macleod remained under a local state of emergency Thursday afternoon, and residents were still urged to limit water use for washing clothes and dishes.
A local state of emergency is also in effect in the MD of Willow Creek.
About 500 homes across southern Alberta are reporting having been affected, including 350 at Lethbridge, 135 on the Blood Reserve and 40 at Claresholm.
“The Blood Tribe has probably suffered the most significant impacts,” said Stephen Carr, director of central operations for the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.
About 350 people on the Blood Reserve have had to evacuate their homes.
“Our chief concern right now is with the Blood Reserve and Claresholm,” Stephen said. “We’re putting a lot of focus on those communities.”
The MD of Willow Creek issued notice of road closures at:
• Range Road 253 south of Township 90,
• Range Road 280 and Township 120.
• Sharples Bottom Road; Range Road 280 and Township 114.
• Meadow Creek Road at Sid Gray’s (SW 7-11-28 W4).
• Range Road 263 between Township 132 and 134.
• Range Road 274 between Meadow Creek Road (114) and Township 120,
• Range Road 265 between Township 132 and 130.
• The bridge is out on Range Road 295 just north of Highway 520.
• Mud Lake road (second curve).
Flood watches remain in effect on the Oldman, Crowsnest, Castle, St. Mary, Waterton rivers as well as Willow Creek, Lee Creek and Pincher Creek.
A flood warning was issued for the Belly and Waterton rivers and Waterton Lake.
The Oldman Dam is releasing water at a flow of 585 cubic metres per second.
“This storm is expected to gradually weaken later today and into this evening,” Carr said. “As that happens obviously rain will tap off.”
The Oldman River is expected to peak at 2,100 cms at Lethbridge on Friday morning.
The South Saskatchewan River at Medicine Hat is expected to peak at 2,700 by mid day Saturday.