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Whitecourt Flooding Prompts Evacuations

A situation of escalating urgency is unfolding in the town of Whitecourt, located approximately 180 kilometers northwest of Edmonton (Canada).

The region is grappling with significant flooding, which has resulted in an official state of local emergency and evacuation orders affecting two riverside dwellings – a residential park and a popular recreational vehicle (RV) campground.

The rising waters of the McLeod and Athabasca rivers have posed immediate concerns to the community, prompting the implementation of a flood watch. 

An evacuation alert was issued for the Sagitawah RV Park situated on the banks of the Athabasca River. Approximately 32 visitors, along with staff, were directed to prepare for potential evacuation.

The park’s owner, Dwayne Gibson, reassured campers, “There’s not a real problem within the campground; no trailers are in threat of being flooded.” 

Gibson’s main concern, instead, is centered around the risk of infrastructure damage, specifically roads being washed away, which would seriously disrupt the accessibility to the park.

This incident puts into focus the potential risks and challenges that private campground owners and RV park operators face when situated near rivers. 

When nature displays its power through such events, the threat isn’t merely limited to immediate flooding. 

The aftermath often includes damages to the infrastructure, including access roads and utility lines, which can prove costly for private owners to restore. This underlines the importance of adequate risk assessment and emergency planning for such businesses.

Across the highway from Sagitawah RV Park, Westview Mobile Village also received orders to evacuate Tuesday afternoon. 

The rising water levels have mandated the closure of several local recreational sites, including Festival Park, Riverside trail, Whitecourt Golf & Country Club, and Riverboat Park. 

Furthermore, an abutment washout on Highway 32 near Groat Creek has led to a partial road closure.

Local authorities expect the Athabasca River to crest Tuesday afternoon, followed by the McLeod River on Tuesday night. 

The simultaneous swelling of both rivers, although not expected to peak at the same time, has heightened the gravity of the situation. The Alberta Environment River Forecast Branch and the town staff are monitoring both rivers closely.

Whitecourt Mayor Tom Pickard has issued a statement, advising the public to exercise “extreme caution” near the rivers. He emphasized the unique difficulty of managing two concurrently high rivers, and said, “That’s what created this situation.”

In response to the emergency, the town has established evacuation registration points for affected residents and visitors. Individuals evacuated from the Westview Mobile Village are asked to register at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre on Sunset Boulevard. 

Meanwhile, those evacuated from the Sagitawah RV Park should register via phone at 780-778-3734.

As the community rallies together in the face of this emergency, the incident serves as a stark reminder to private campground owners and RV park operators everywhere about the importance of vigilance, preparation, and robust emergency response plans when situated near potentially volatile natural features.

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melodyMia
melodyMia
February 20, 2024 8:52 pm

Given the continuing flooding situation, it’s important to stay informed about evacuation orders and road closures. Taking preemptive measures to safeguard property and belongings is vital. Stay secure!

Kindhearted241
Kindhearted241
March 12, 2024 2:02 pm
Reply to  melodyMia

It’s crucial to prepare by safeguarding your property. Keep yourself informed about evacuation orders and road closures for your safety. Are there any specific measures you’ve taken to protect your belongings during the flooding?

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Whitecourt Flooding Prompts Evacuations! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/alberta/whitecourt-flooding-prompts-evacuations/