Floods are a frequent hazard in Canada and have devastated many areas of Alberta. High-risk flood zones are in low-lying areas along river banks, called flood plains. These areas naturally flood when water levels rise. It is important to know the risks and how to be prepared if flooding does occur in the community or in your home.
Water is powerful. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock over an adult, 12 inches to carry away a car, and 2 feet to move an SUV. Never attempt to cross a flooded area.
1. Understand Flooding and Know the RisksFlood Facts
Flooding can occur at any time of year and can result from:
- Heavy rainfall, particularly when the ground is still frozen or already wet
- Ice jams
- Rapid melting of glaciers or snow packs
- Natural or man-made dam failures
Low-lying areas along rivers or in ravines have a high risk of flooding. Heavy rainfall or dam failures can cause flash floods, which happen quickly and with no warning.
Visit the resources below for more information about flooding.
2. Take Action and Get Prepared
There are many ways you can prepare for flooding in your home and community. By making a plan and preparing an emergency kit, you can help relieve stress, anxiety and actions to take if a flooding emergency ever occurs.
Reduce Flood Damage
Spring Home Check: Check your home each spring to ensure there are no potential issues with flooding or water damage to your house.
Home Flood Prevention: Find ways to reduce flood damage in your home and yard, especially during snowmelt, heavy rainfall, or spring runoff events.
- Move valuables out of your basement or place them in water protected containers
Check downspouts, ensuring drainage moves water away from the property.
- Check your sump pump and backwater valves. Install a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.
- Check with your insurance and review coverage in case you need to evacuate
- Use weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
Make an Emergency Plan and Kit
Evacuation: Prepare in case you need to to leave quickly
Evacuation and safety
: be prepared in the event you need to evacuate your home or community, including items to take with you, protecting your home, and communicating with contacts.
3. Flood Recovery
After arriving back home after a flood event, it is important to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. The following are items to check once you first arrive back to your home.
- Check for notices on your door
- Check if there is water in your basement, or other areas of your home
- Check if your natural gas and electricity are working. If they are not working, contact your service provider.
Cleaning your home after a flood:
- Consider hiring a professional to assist in cleaning
- Visit the Hazard webpage, section "What to do after a flood" for more information on cleaning after a flood, plus other helpful post-flood tips
- Alberta Health Services has a "Cleaning the house after a flood" document that is a good reference
4. Stay Informed
To learn more about other types of emergencies and how to prepare, visit our
Emergency Preparedness webpage.
How can you prepare for a flood?
Knowing about and preparing for hazards
My Health Stress Management Resources
Alberta Emergency Management Agency Current Alerts Website
Get Prepared Website
For more information
Submit a service request
Phone: 311 or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)
Address: City Hall, 910 4 Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta, T1J 0P6