Calgarians told to be on alert as flood season starts

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Calgarians told to be on alert as flood season starts
WATCH ABOVE: Flood season officially starts Tuesday according to the City of Calgary. Gary Bobrovitz takes a look at what the risk is this year, and what’s being done to prevent another devastating flood – May 16, 2017

Calgarians are being urged to be prepared for the possibility of flooded basements and homes, as the annual “flood season” is here.

Historically, the period between May 15 and June 15 is the time the city is likely to experience flooding, according to the City of Calgary.

READ MORE: Alberta pledges $13.4 million for flood-mitigation projects in Calgary

While snow pack and stream flows are slightly higher than normal this year, they’re still within the normal range, according to the city’s leader of watershed analysis, Frank Frigo.

Officials monitor several factors when determining flood risks, including the ocean conditions – particularly the Pacific Ocean, Frigo said.

“The last two years having been relatively dry, this year is quite different because the El Niño conditions that were driving those dry conditions have subsided,” he told Global News Morning.

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READ MORE: Tour of Calgary homes severely damaged in 2013 floods

WATCH: The City of Calgary’s leader of watershed analysis Frank Frigo joins Global Calgary with details on how they are preparing for potential flooding in 2017.
Click to play video: 'How the City of Calgary is preparing for potential flooding in 2017'
How the City of Calgary is preparing for potential flooding in 2017

Flooding can happen fast, and some areas are more prone to taking in water than others.

What can you do to prepare yourself?

  • Watch and listen to local media stations
  • Listen for and sign up for Alberta emergency alerts — Alberta Emergency Alerts interrupt local broadcasting on television and radio stations with information about the emergency. You can also download the AEA app to a smart device to receive notifications
  • Check the Alberta Environment Advisories and Warnings page, which contains any advisories, warnings or watches that are in place
  • Download Alberta Environment’s river monitoring app
  • Keep up to date with weather updates

While residents are encouraged to do their own preparations, the city is also taking steps to get ready for the possibility of rising waters.

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What is the city doing?

  • Developing and maintaining emergency response plans
  • Conducting training sessions and exercises for city personnel
  • Identifying those areas of the city and critical infrastructure that are most vulnerable to flooding
  • Ensuring adequate emergency resources are in place
  • Sharing information with Calgarians, businesses, stakeholders and other municipalities
  • Operating existing infrastructure, such as dams, reservoirs and outfall gates, to reduce flow rates and mitigate flood damage

Since the devastating floods in 2013, the city has taken several steps to prevent a similar scenario.

“A lot of the infrastructure that was built back after the flood was built with the degree of resilience to provide additional protection,” Frigo said.

Frigo said the work the city’s done since 2013 has reduced the flood risk in Calgary by about 30 per cent, but added the city “still faces a very significant flood risk.”

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