Typically more than half of our region’s total annual rainfall occurs between the months of May to July.
2016 flood readiness: A reminder for Calgarians to understand, prepare & stay informed
With this year’s warmer than average winter and spring, many Calgarians have been asking if the risk of flooding is lower this year than in previous years? The answer is that the risk of river flooding in Calgary is the same each year.
The risk of river flooding is greatest in Calgary between May 15 and July 15, and citizens are encouraged to understand their personal and business flood risks as well as stay informed to conditions that may impact them.
River flooding in Calgary is primarily caused by heavy rains in the Rocky Mountains. Two or more heavy rain days in the mountains can lead to flooding in Calgary with little to no warning.
That's why The City monitors river forecasts, soil moisture, rainfall and snow melt rates in the mountains 24/7 between May 15 and July 15, according to River Engineering Lead, Frank Frigo.
“Long term weather data suggests normal to slightly wetter than normal conditions for the next three months. We're observing successive weather systems that have begun crossing the Pacific, and establishing more normal precipitation patterns compared to the dry conditions that persisted through 2015," says Frigo.
"Typically more than half of our region’s rainfall occurs in the May to July period,” he added.
Calgarians play an important role in flood readiness and safety. Citizens are reminded to do their part by having an emergency plan and 72 hour kit, while we continue to do our part to manage and minimize the impacts of future floods.
“Over the last three years we've been implementing a comprehensive plan that incorporates the recommendations of our Expert Flood Management Panel to build flood resiliency in Calgary. A key undertaking has been The City’s partnership with the Province, where they have made important flood mitigation decisions such as Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, elevated hoists and gates on the Glenmore Reservoir, and a five-year agreement with TransAlta to make annual operations changes at Ghost Reservoir,” says Frigo.
Public Safety is top of mind and to ensure staff are ready to respond, Water Services spends more than 2,000 hours training in emergency preparedness each year. This includes practice exercises such as the High-flow Event on May 10.
The City has tools and resources available to help Calgarians know their flood risk and tips on how recreational users can enjoy our rivers in a safe manner. Visit calgary.ca/floodinfo for the latest information including flood inundation maps, river flow triggers and several river safety videos.