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Calgary's chance of flooding is 'normal' – here's what that means

Centre Street Bridge and the Bow River can be seen in Calgary, Alta. (Unsplash/Nataliia Kvitovska) Centre Street Bridge and the Bow River can be seen in Calgary, Alta. (Unsplash/Nataliia Kvitovska)
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Though Calgarians have been warned about the potential of drought this summer, it's now flood season in Calgary.

The two-month period, which happens annually from May 15 to July 15, is the time when rivers are most likely to overflow.

River engineering leader Sandy Davis says that flooding can happen anytime, even during the driest of years.

"Heavy rainfall upstream of Calgary is the most significant contributor to flooding events in our city, and with our proximity to the mountains, it's not uncommon for us to experience rapid and unpredictable weather swings, including intense storms during dry years."

City officials say flood preparations are complete and they're monitoring river conditions, weather forecasts and the melting mountain snowpack 24/7.

"This year's mountain snowpack is average to slightly below average," said a Wednesday news release.

"When that snowpack melts, it increases the flow in the river, but we don't usually see overbank flooding from snowmelt alone. As such, Calgary's chance of flooding this year is considered normal."

Despite the "normal" flood risk, the city is encouraging people to take the following actions to prepare their property for flood season:

  • Use the City of Calgary's online interactive flood maps to know your home and community's risk;
  • Take steps to reduce flood damage, keep your loved ones safe and be prepared if you need to evacuate quickly; and,
  • 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.

For more information you can visit the City of Calgary's website.

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