ALBERTA

Fort McMurray Flooding: Alison Redford Tours Flooded City

06/14/2013 05:11 EDT | Updated 08/14/2013 05:12 EDT
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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - Alberta Premier Alison Redford toured the northern city of Fort McMurray on Friday and visited with volunteers filling sandbags.

The stop came a day after a second neighbourhood was evacuated in the northern oilsands community.

More than 400 ousted residents have registered at the city's emergency reception centre.

A local state of emergency was issued for the area earlier this week, after water eroded the banks of the overflowing Hangingstone River that runs through Fort McMurray.

A flood warning has since been downgraded to a flood watch because the water is receding.

Environment Canada has also ended a weather warning for the area, but forecasts warn that there will likely be more rain over the next two days.

Brad Grainger with emergency operations for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is glad the water isn't rising.

"But from a safety perspective and an evacuation perspective, it hasn't changed much, just because the water levels and the erosion of the banks are still the issue."

Crews have been working along the river to prevent further erosion. In one area, large boulders were placed on the shore. Engineers are also studying the problem, said Grainger.

Mayor Melissa Blake said the evacuation orders won't be lifted until it's safe to send people home.

"We are just are taking that extra degree of safety measure in mind," she said. "We're doing all the remediation work that we can to ensure slope stability along the banks and, with that, we're hopeful that we'll be able to get into a very comfortable position."

Water has closed some roads in and around the city, including the only road into a Suncor work site.

Company spokeswoman Kelli Stevens said some workers were deemed essential and remain at the site to keep "everything running safely." They have enough food and water, she said.

"We're doing what we can to fix the road as quickly as possible but that, of course, is depending on weather."

(The Canadian Press, CFVR)

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