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Saturday
Jun222013

Downtown Calgary Evacuated Due to Severe Flooding, Four People Killed

iStockphoto/ThinkStock(CALGARY, Canada) -- Residents of Calgary, Canada are gradually returning home Saturday after severe flooding in southern Alberta led to the evacuation of the entire downtown and killed at least four people.

The flooding washed out roads and bridges, and some areas of the city are still sitting under 4 feet of water. Calgary's Saddledome stadium, home to the NHL's Calgary Flames, is reportedly submerged up to the tenth row of seats.

“Calgarians have typically never seen flooding to this extent,” said Bruce Burrell, director of Calgary Emergency Management. “This is about three times the worst peak floods that most people would have remembered in their lifetime.”

Four people were caught in the floodwaters and killed in a community about 20 miles south of Calgary, according to local media.

Burrell says they evacuated some 75,000 people from the city, but that few emergency shelters were utilized.

“Despite the number of people we evacuated, we had very low utilization of our emergency shelters because people opened up their homes, friends, families, co-workers, most people ended up going and staying with somebody else that they knew that was on higher ground somewhere else in the city,” he said. “We have one of those cities that just reaches out and has a big heart and helps take care of each other.”

Flood waters have peaked, and evacuees are beginning to return home, though it may take a few days for everyone to come back.

“The initial evacuation was over 75,000 people,” Burrell said. “Between what we returned last night and what we're returning today, it's going to be in the high hundreds, low thousands, so this is only the very beginning of what we hope to be more successful re-entry and return over the next few days.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio