City of Calgary ready for 2023 flood season
Mid-May marks the start of Calgary’s river flood season, and The City of Calgary is ready.
Annual flood preparations are complete and the 24/7 monitoring of river conditions, weather forecasts and the melting mountain snowpack is well underway.
While recent rains and an early melting snowpack have resulted in higher river flows than normal for mid-May, Calgary’s chance of flooding this year is still considered normal. This rating considers both widespread rain events and melting snow, which together contribute to river flooding in our rivers. River Engineering Team Lead Sandy Davis confirms, “We’re seeing below average alpine snowpack levels this year. And our long-term forecasts predict normal precipitation and above normal temperatures over the next couple of months.”
Although Calgary’s 2023 flood season is off to a hot and sunny start this week, Davis cautions that conditions and forecasts can change dramatically and quickly for our mountain-fed rivers. “This is why we prepare for flood season each year. As outlooks change, we’re ready to respond to keep Calgarians safe and protect critical infrastructure, vital community services, the environment and our economy,” says Davis.
As we approach 10 years since the 2013 flood, Calgary has come a long way in building a flood resilient city, thanks to significant infrastructure investments that have reduced our flood risk by 55 per cent to date. Additional flood mitigation projects that will help protect our city continue to progress, including the Sunnyside flood barrier and Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir. When these projects are completed in 2025 (anticipated), Calgary’s flood risk will be reduced by a total of 70 per cent.
Davis reminds Calgarians that flooding can’t be prevented entirely, “If you’re property is at risk of flooding, it’s important to take a few steps so you can be ready. And for those of us who love to enjoy our beautiful river pathways and parks, it’s also important to exercise caution around riverbanks because fast-moving water can cause erosion and destabilization.” Here are Davis’s top three recommendations:
- Understand. Use our online interactive flood maps to know your home and community’s risk.
- Prepare. Take steps to reduce flood damage, keep your loved ones safe and be prepared if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Stay informed. River conditions can change quickly and with little warning. Visit calgary.ca/floodinfo for a quick snapshot of daily river conditions, sign up for alerts to stay informed and pay attention to any boating advisories issued by The City.
To help Calgarians be prepared, we have flood preparation tools and resources available Calgary.ca/FloodInfo.
Calgarians can also learn the basic actions to can take to prepare and protect themselves, family and their home at Calgary.ca/getready. It has the latest information from Emergency Preparedness Week, which just concluded on May 13.