An estimated 100,000 people have fled their homes after flash floods swept through Calgary, Canada, on Thursday and Friday.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said one of two rivers running through the Alberta city – the Bow – “looks like an ocean at the moment,” CTV News said.
Water reached row 10 in the city’s downtown arena, the 19,000-seat Saddledome, which is preparing to host the Calgary Stampede rodeo in days.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning to tour flood-damaged areas of his hometown while 600 troops are mobilizing to help and another 600 are on standby.
Calgary is a city of 1 million in the province of Alberta, but it’s just one of about 12 communities in the southern region on evacuation alert.
Nearly 10 inches of rain dumped on the city in 48 hours, CBC News said, with another two inches forecast.
The flooding closed schools and several major roads; resulting power outages have shuttered downtown, where nearly 250,000 work and live.
Provincial Premier Allison Redford pledged immediate support to help Calgary rebuild and clean up after the floodwaters subside.
“I took a look at property and community down there, and I’ve got to tell you: standing on a bridge, in the dark, when the power is out, listening to the roar of the river is terrifying,” she said.
She also worried there are communities down river that should brace for water.
Not even exotic animals at the world-renowned Calgary Zoo are safe, with keepers transferring two zebras to a conservation area nearby and two pot-bellied pigs to an animal shelter.
It put other animals on alert, with plans to transfer large cats to the (vacant) cells at the courthouse if needed.
“As many animals as possible from the zoo island and low-lying areas of the Canadian Wilds section of the zoo were secured in other areas of the zoo including all carnivores and all 12 big cats,” a statement on the zoo’s Facebook page said. “Animal care and security personnel remain at the zoo and are assessing the situation.”