Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alert Telling High River to Prepare for Another Flood Was Sent by Accident

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alert Telling High River to Prepare for Another Flood Was Sent by Accident

Article excerpt

Goof tells High River to brace for new flood


HIGH RIVER, Alta. - An update that was supposed to inform Albertans the provincial state of emergency in High River had ended probably caused a few people in the flood-ravaged town to scratch their heads.

A message was accidentally sent Saturday morning on the province's emergency alert system that a flash-flood alert had been issued for High River and that residents needed to take immediate precautions.

The weather at the time was clear, with blue skies and dry roads.

The town soon posted on Twitter that the alert was sent in error, and it was officially ended on the emergency alert website a few moments later.

Joan Botkin, the town's communications manager, says the "glitch" happened when the town was announcing that the provincial state of emergency from last month's flooding was being changed to a local state of emergency.

The alert went out on Twitter and RSS feeds but provincial officials say it wasn't automatically broadcast over radio stations in the area.

"It was just a little accident -- not a big deal. It was just a glitch," Botkin said Saturday.

"I doubt if anyone heard it because a lot of people are cleaning out their houses," she added.

A spokesperson with the province's municipal affairs ministry, which operates the emergency alert system, said local officials have access to the alert system and that the mistake was made on their end.

"The alert only went out online," Tim Wilson said. "Provincial staff monitor the system and noticed the alert."

The provincial state of emergency was lifted in the town south of Calgary on Friday.

Provincial and local officials told a news conference on Saturday that the switch from a provincial state of emergency to a local one meant the town was resuming its leadership role in the recovery process, which it surrendered during the height of the flooding.

The Alberta minister in charge of High River's rebuilding, Rick Fraser, told reporters that the province was still heavily involved in the rebuilding efforts. …

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