June 18, 2018 7:00 am
Updated: January 18, 2019 5:09 pm

Calgary flood: 5 years later – Photos show dramatic changes from then to now

WATCH: The flood that hit Calgary in 2013 drastically changed the city. Here's what many of the affected areas looked like then compared to what they look like five years later.


As the five-year anniversary of the southern Alberta 2013 flooding quickly approaches, here’s a quick look back at the events that led up to one of Alberta’s most infamous natural disasters.

The flooding began on June 20, 2013, when southern Alberta was hit by 100 millimetres of rain.

Forecasters expected the rainfall to double in the coming days, which led to both the Bow and Elbow rivers flooding into the streets of Calgary.

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READ MORE: Nature’s power and the long-lasting impacts on southern Alberta rivers

It resulted in one of Canada’s most expensive natural disasters at the time and destroyed countless communities and homes.

On June 15, Environment Canada downgraded its emergency level for the northern area of the province to a flood watch rather than a warning; the evacuation order had been in place for seven days. But then four days later, heavy rain began to fall, according to The Canadian Press’ timeline.

Within the coming days of the predicted flood warnings, around 80,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes and businesses. The Saddledome and Stampede grounds were just a couple of the city’s many landmarks that were impacted by the flooding.

WATCH: Homes flooded, businesses under water and bridges shut down. That’s just some of the devastation Calgary saw in 2013 when the Bow and Elbow rivers flooded. Heide Pearson takes a look by the numbers.

It wasn’t until four days later that the rivers began to recede and some evacuees in Calgary could begin to return home.

This was not the first major flood for Calgary and according to experts, it likely won’t be the last.

“With the type of catchment we have, proximity to the mountains, the amount of mountain terrain that drains into our two beautiful rivers, flooding is very much a natural consequence and natural phenomenon that will occur,” said Frank Frigo, leader of watershed analysis with the water department at the City of Calgary.

READ MORE: Flooding possible as high streamflow advisory issued for Calgary, Bow Valley

In the years since the disaster, Calgary has conducted many repairs and flood prevention projects.

Scroll down to see Global News’ photos of Calgary during the flooding and what the same places look like in June 2018.

Swipe below to see an aerial image of downtown Calgary during and after the June 2013 flooding


Swipe below to see aerial images of the Elrton LRT station during and after the June 2013 flooding



Swipe below to see an aerial image of the Glenmore Dam during and after the June 2013 flooding


Swipe below to see an aerial image of the Safeway in Mission during and after the June 2013 flooding


Swipe below to see an aerial image of the Stampede grounds during and after the June 2013 flooding


Calgary flooding by the numbers:

1,840 cubic metres of water surged through the Bow River in Calgary – the city’s highest recorded flow since 1887.

700 cubic metres flowed through the smaller Elbow River at the flood’s peak.​

80,000 Calgarians were evacuated from about 35,000 homes and businesses.

2,300 Canadian Forces troops were deployed to Calgary and throughout communities in southern Alberta.

160 firefighters from Edmonton travelled south to help with the recovery efforts, along with 5 Alberta Search and Rescue teams.

$400 million is the estimated amount of damage city infrastructure and property sustained once the muddy water had dried up.

$55 million in damage affected the city’s parks, including Prince’s Island and Bowness Park.

64 city-owned vehicle and pedestrian bridges crossing the Bow and Elbow rivers were closed along with 14 either provincial or privately owned bridges.

40 kilometres of city pathways were destroyed or damaged.

45 buildings at the Calgary Zoo were damaged in the flood.

Calgarian died in the floods — 83-year-old Lorraine Gerlitz.


© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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