The Heat Is Online

Grain Prices Rise as Alberta Suffers Extensive Floods

Flooded Western Canada to get more rain

Reuters,  June 21, 2010

CALGARY, Alberta - Large swathes of two Western Canadian provinces were under flood alerts Monday as renewed heavy rain threatened to raise river levels that have already swamped homes, businesses and farms.

The usually dry region of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan has already seen extensive flooding following weeks of heavy rain.

A few days of clear weather had begun to lower water levels, but more heavy rain has begun falling in the region, with forecasters predicting as much as 40 mm (1.6 inches) in coming days.

"The rivers that had been falling are rising again," said Carrie Sancartier, a spokeswoman for Alberta's Environment Department.

The South Saskatchewan River, which flows through Medicine Hat, Alberta, the largest city in the region, is under a flood watch. The city of 60,000 has declared a state of emergency and evacuated residents in low-lying areas.

The small town of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, population 2,600, was also hard hit by flooding, according to media reports. The first serious flood the town has seen in more than half a century damaged roads and swamped homes and businesses.

The floodwaters have closed a section of the Trans-Canada Highway near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, severed some of the region's rail links and prevented farmers from sowing crops.

The wet weather has driven up U.S. wheat, soybean and oat futures, along with ICE Canada canola futures, for the past two weeks. Canada is normally the world's largest exporter of spring wheat, durum and canola, and is the second-largest oats producer after Russia.

Copyright 2010 Reuters.