It was three years ago today when torrential rain hit southern Alberta, sparking what would ultimately become the biggest natural disaster ever to hit the city of Calgary. All told, the 2013 Calgary Flood displaced over 100,000 people from their homes, accrued over $5 billion in damages and killed five people.
From an insurance perspective, the 2013 Calgary flood was the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history (though the recent fire in Fort McMurray will likely cost insurers even more). It’s estimated that flooding across southern Alberta cost the insurance industry roughly $1.7 billion, a fact that has made flood research a renewed priority for insurance providers and government agencies. We hope that the work we’re doing will help provide better information to insurers and regulators so they may protect property owners from losses like those we saw three years ago.
Prompted by the catastrophic flooding of 2013, the Calgary Public Library has built a fantastic website that catalogues a history of flooding in the region that’s nearly 150 years long. The site includes newspaper clippings and photos from as early as 1883, and outlines the impact floods have had to local infrastructure, First Nations communities, agriculture and individuals with experiences to share.