The Flood Header blue wave

In late June 2013, Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta experienced a perfect—and very wet—storm. High volumes of rain in other provinces resulted in higher-than-normal river and groundwater levels, so when the rain started (and didn’t stop for days), flooding was inevitable.

Immersing entire towns in water and sludge, the 2013 floods have been pegged as Canada’s costliest disaster. Scroll down to see who was affected and what the province looks like six months after the floods.

  Top 5 costliest disasters in canada

2013 Alberta floods

$5,000,000,000

1997 Red River Flood (Manitoba)

$3,500,000,000

1998 Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick Ice Storms

$3,000,000,000

2011 Slave Lake, ALTA., Wildfire

$1,800,000,000

1996 Saguenay Flood (Quebec)

$1,500,000,000

Sources: BMO Capital Markets, Insurance
Bureau of Canada, National Climatic Data Centre,
Red River Rising by Ashley Shelby, CBC Digital
Archives, Library and Archives Canada

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  Comparisons

Sources: Government of Alberta, Calgary Sun, CBC

Normal River level Three times Normal River levels

3 x normal

River Levels Normal River level Eight times Normal River levels

8 x normal

40,000

Three times Normal River levels
Homes Damaged

One House equals 1000 = 1,000

14,500

Eight times Normal River levels

1,500

1,500 people evacuated
People Evacuated

One person equals 1000 = 1,000

Up To

120,000

120,000 people evacuated

3

Fatalities

4

14

States of Local Emergency

32

248 mm
in June

States of Local Emergency

Over 200 mm
in 2 days

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  Highwater
clock

June 19–21

June 20, 9 a.m.

9:40 a.m.

10 a.m.

10:30 a.m.


1 p.m.

2 p.m.

5 p.m.

7 p.m.

10 p.m.

10:30 p.m.

June 21, 5 a.m.


2 p.m.


June 22, Noon

Timeline

Heavy rainfall predicted for southern Alberta

Canmore and Bragg Creek begin to see flooding

Mudslide near Banff washes out part of Highway 1

Canmore declares a state of emergency

Black Diamond, Turner Valley, High River and other southern Alberta communities begin flooding

Town of High River evacuated

Six Calgary neighbourhoods along the Elbow River are evacuated

Bragg Creek is evacuated

Calgary extends its evacuations to 17 neighbourhoods

Water spills over Calgary’s Glenmore Reservoir

Calgary evacuates eight more neighbourhoods

The majority of bridges in Calgary and surrounding municipalities are closed or restricted

The Bow River reaches its peak flow volume of 1,740 cubic metres per second

Water levels begin to drop

Sources: The Canadian Press, City of
Calgary, Government of Alberta, NASA

 
  Summary

Click on the images to view a larger version

Bragg Creek flood image  Calgary flood image  Calgary flood image  Calgary flood image  High River flood image  High River flood image  High River flood image  High River flood image  Kananaskis flood image  High River flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Kananaskis flood image  Millarville flood image  Millarville flood image  Turner Valley and Black Diamond flood image  Turner Valley and Black Diamond flood image  Turner Valley and Black Diamond flood image 
River
Tree
Tree
Tree
Tree
Tree
Tree
Tree
Tree
Bragg Creek
Calgary
High River
Kananaskis
Millarville
Turner Valley

All photos: Darryl Zubot

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After the Flood

Six months after the floods, the majority of Alberta is back to business as usual; however, there are still a number of displaced families and businesses. The effects of the flooding remain visually apparent in towns like High River and Black Diamond, where disaster recovery is still taking place and the fate of much of the local infrastructure is still uncertain.

While the Government of Alberta says recovery will take years, it has also turned its eye towards flood prevention. Planning and measures—like the dismantling of the Highwood bridge in High River—are beginning to take shape, which is good news for southern Alberta residents.