EDMONTON -- A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for Birch Hills County because of high water levels on the Smoky River.

Residents of the Hamlet of Watino and surrounding low-lying areas should immediately report to the reception centre at Tangent Community Hall. Anyone who needs transportation should call 780-814-0530.

Forecasters say water levels may rise to even higher than levels seen in 1990 and 1972. 

Watino is about 456 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

The Smoky River is expected to peak late Friday into the morning of July 4.

Flood watches have been issued for:

  • Pembina River downstream from Entwistle, where water levels could rise another two metres by Friday night;
  • Simonette River – a tributary to the Smoky River – could rise 2.5 metres;
  • Athabasca River at Whitecourt, which is expected to impact the Sagitawan trailer park;
  • McLeod River from Rosevear to Whitecourt. According to Alberta Environment, water levels there already rose between one and 1.5 metres, and could rise by that much again.

As well, high streamflow advisories are in effect for the Peace River from Dunvegan Bridge to Fort Vermilion, the North Saskatchewan River from Rocky Mountain House to Edmonton, and tributaries of these rivers and others.

In the Greenview Municipal District, Highway 66 was washed out and closed to traffic.

Two days ago, a mudslide buried a section of the Town of Devon’s river valley trail system.

The town is so busy with other water issues that the mudslide isn't a top priority.

“This morning we actually had to close our Voyageur Park out by the bridge there just because the water has been rising significantly still and some of the trails closer to the water have been flooded out,” said Justin Janke, of the Town of Devon.

Janke said last year between May and June the town recorded 133 millimetres. This year, 198 millimetres have fallen.

“Last year it felt like a wet summer and this year it's shaping up to be even more wet,” he said.

In Edmonton, water levels are expected to peak between Friday and Saturday with a total rise of one to 2.5 metres.

EPCOR told CTV News Edmonton it was dealing with some localized flooding at stormwater facilities and dry ponds storing water – but that this was expected after the city counted 40 millimetres of rain since Monday.

"These facilities are performing as expected, and it is normal that the water levels have risen. Levels will come down as the system drains; however, additional rainfall forecast is likely to keep these facilities near high water levels for the next week," a spokesperson said, adding Edmontonians should avoid the facilities or call 780-412-4500 if they have concerns.