Timeline of Events: Canmore
Between June 19th and June 21st, Canmore was inundated by heavy rainfall due to three low pressure weather systems colliding over the town at the same time. Combined with melting snowpack, mountain creeks became raging rivers that eventually fed into the Bow River exacerbating downstream damage. Estimations suggest that “some 9 million cubic meters of rain (220 mm) fell on the 43 square kilometre watershed of Cougar Creek over the course of three days”. The result was an incredibly high and fast flowing Cougar Creek carrying debris that contributed to the river’s diversion, bank erosion and subsequent impacts on local property.
While Canmore avoided complete disaster with an effective emergency response regime and no loss of life. Flood damage to private property, businesses, major roadways and utilities was extensive. Clean-up efforts began immediately once flood waters receded and the full extent of the flood damage could be realized. The Mountain Creek Hazard Mitigation Plan was approved on June 23, 2013 to begin immediate analysis of the behaviour of surrounding mountain creeks and expectations for future floods. The plan has proven useful to observing future mitigation measures and understanding the impacts of the 2013 flood and potential future floods.
Moving forward, the town of Canmore is dedicated to better understanding their place in the Rocky Mountains and how flooding has become part of their geography. Residents of the town continue to support one another and participate in developing strategies and plans to move forward.