Flood of the Century

June 20–23, 2013


The Downtown East Village neighbourhood of Calgary, Alberta, during the 2013 Alberta floods (June 21, 2013).

2013 Flood

In the days leading up to June 20, 2013, Alberta, Canada, experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding described by the provincial government as the worst in Alberta's history.

Areas along the Bow, Elbow, Highwood, Red Deer, Sheep, Little Bow, and South Saskatchewan rivers and their tributaries were particularly affected. A total of 32 states of local emergency were declared and 28 emergency operations centres were activated as water levels rose and numerous communities were placed under evacuation orders.

Statistics

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  • Second largest flood since 1883
  • Bow River flows peaked at 2,400 m3/second, 8x the regular flow
  • Elbow River inflow peaked at 1,240 m3/second, 12x the regular rate
  • Outflow below the Glenmore Dam was 700 m3/second, about 7x normal

Impact

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  • Most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history
  • 110,000 people evacuated from 26 communities
  • More than 20 bridges were closed

Response

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  • More than 100,000 calls received at The City of Calgary’s 311
  • XX Canadian military dispatched to assist
  • XX community centres set up to assist displaced residents

Recovery

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  • 100 metres of LRT track replaced in one week to re-open south line of LRT
  • 80% of city road network in affected areas restored in the first seven days
  • Calgary Stampede recreated chuckwagon race track in xx days using xx #people
  • Scotiabank Saddledome re-opened with Eagles concert on Sep 11, 2013

Results/Future Planning

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  • Province revisits 30-year old flood plain maps
  • Federal/provincial assistance dollars contingent on flood mitigation
  • Province commissions mitigation study

Communications

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  • With power outages and evacuations, social media was fastest and sometimes most reliable way to get information
  • Calgary Police Service Twitter account shut down temporarily due to volume of tweets
  • Volunteer requests and responses dispatched via Facebook accounts
  • City of Calgary’s emergency operations centre held xx number of news conferences per day for xx number of days