Focal Examination of the 2013 Extreme Weather and Flooding in Alberta

In late June 2013, intense rain fell for several days over a large area of the southern Canadian Rocky Mountain front ranges and foothills in Alberta, causing widespread flooding with severe and costly damages to many communities, mass evacuations, and loss of life. Shortly after, the Changing Cold Regions Network set out to examine the chain of events leading to this disaster, focusing on atmospheric conditions and flood meteorology, hydrological and land surface processes associated with the flood, water management and operational decision making aspects, and computer modelling and simulation of various aspects of the flood to improve future prediction of similar events.

A scientific and stakeholder workshop was held in Canmore, AB, in February 2014 to discuss various aspects of the flood and present preliminary scientific analyses, as well as to hear from local emergency response personnel and water management professionals about their experiences. (Presentations and a full report of that workshop are available at An outcome of the workshop was the development of plans to organize a set of scientific papers for a special journal issue. Most of these papers have now been published in a special issue of the journal Hydrological Processes (see list below). In addition, a significant amount of media coverage focused on network member's assessments and insights on various aspects of the flood event. A lisiting of news items and interviews is provided below

In particular, see a recent news story (Three years later, lessons being learned from the flood of 2013), and see information brochures on the changing environment of the Rocky Mountains and a brochure describing the events and the lessons learned.

Scientific Journal Publications

Journal of Hydrometeorology

Li, Y., Szeto, K., Stewart, R. E., Thériault, J. M., Chen, L., Kochtubajda, B., Liu, A., Boodoo, S., Goodson, R., Mooney, C., and Kurkute, S. (2017) A numerical study of the June 2013 flood-producing extreme rainstorm over southern AlbertaJournal of Hydrometeorology.   

Hydrological Processes Special Issue Canadian Geophysical Union 2016

Fang, X., & Pomeroy, J. W. (2016). Impact of antecedent conditions on simulations of a flood in a mountain headwater basinHydrological Processes.
Kochtubajda, B., Stewart, R. E., Boodoo, S., Thériault, J. M., Li, Y., Liu, A., Mooney, C., Goodson, R., & Szeto, K. (2016). The June 2013 Alberta Catastrophic Flooding Event–Part 2: Fine‐scale precipitation and associated featuresHydrological Processes.
Liu, A., Mooney, C., Szeto, K., Thériault, J. M., Kochtubajda, B., Stewart, R. E., Boodoo, S., Goodson, R., Li, Y., & Pomeroy, J. (2016). The June 2013 Alberta Catastrophic Flooding Event: Part 1–Climatological aspects and hydrometeorological featuresHydrological Processes.
Pomeroy, J. W., Fang, X., & Marks, D. G. (2016). The Cold Rain‐on‐Snow Event of June 2013 in the Canadian Rockies–Characteristics and DiagnosisHydrological Processes.

Hydrological Processes Special Issue Canadian Geophysical Union 2015

Harder, P., Pomeroy, J. W., & Westbrook, C. J. (2015). Hydrological resilience of a Canadian Rockies headwaters basin subject to changing climate, extreme weather, and forest managementHydrological Processes,29(18), 3905-3924.

Canadian Water Resources Journal Special Issue on Floods in Canada

Buttle, J. M., Allen, D. M., Caissie, D., Davison, B., Hayashi, M., Peters, D. L., Pomeroy, J. W., Simonovic, S., St-Hilaire, A., & Whitfield, P. H. (2016). Flood processes in Canada: Regional and special
aspectsCanadian Water Resources Journal/Revue canadienne des ressources hydriques, 1-24.
Pomeroy, J. W., Stewart, R. E., & Whitfield, P. H. (2016). The 2013 flood event in the South Saskatchewan and Elk River basins: Causes, assessment and damagesCanadian Water Resources Journal/Revue canadienne des ressources hydriques41(1-2), 105-117.
Shook, K., & Pomeroy, J. W. (2015). The effects of the management of Lake Diefenbaker on downstream floodingCanadian Water Resources Journal/Revue canadienne des ressources hydriques, 1-12.

This CWRJ special issue contains many other relevant papers on floods in Canada and the CCRN geographic domain authored or co-authored by CCRN members (



Other Relevant Papers (not by CCRN members)

Milrad, S. M., Gyakum, J. R., & Atallah, E. H. (2015).   A Meteorological Analysis of the 2013 Alberta Flood: Antecedent Large-Scale Flow Pattern and Synoptic–Dynamic CharacteristicsMonthly Weather Review143(7), 2817-2841.
Milrad, S. M., Lombardo, K., Atallah, E., and Gyakum, J. (2017).   Numerical simulations of the 2013 Alberta Flood: Dynamics, thermodynamics, and the role of orography.   Journal of Hydrometeorology,   
Teufel, B., Diro, G. T., Whan, K., Milrad, S. M., Jeong, D. I., Ganji, A., ... & Zwiers, F. W. (2016).   Investigation of the 2013 Alberta flood from weather and climate perspectivesClimate Dynamics, 1-19.

Select Media Coverage

06/18/2016, Three years later, lessons being learned from the 2013 flood, Collette Derworiz, Calgary Herald

08/24/2015, Water expert astonished by proposed location of CalgaryNEXT along Bow River, Herald

04/01/2014, Are we ready for the next flood? Alberta Views

02/27/2014, Precipitation monitoring likened to the 'Stone Age', Rocky Mountain Outlook

02/19/2014, New system would warn of floods faster, Calgary Herald

02/12/2014, Canmore flood management plans questioned, Calgary Herald

02/11/2014, Flood warning tools could improve extreme weather response, Calgary Herald

02/06/2014, Alberta, Colorado floods compared, Rocky Mountain Outlook

08/26/2013, Alberta Flood Research, The Daily Planet

08/24/2013, Daily Planet dissects High River flooding, Calgary Herald

07/30/2013, Experts say all flooded homes should be included in recovery plans, Calgary Herald

07/24/2013, Alberta at Noon, CBC Radio

07/17/2013, Wildrose Rains Criticism on Tories over Flooding, Calgary Herald

07/12/2013, City of Calgary engineers seeking advice on permanent flood-control measures, Calgary Herald

07/11/2013, Flood-ravaged Canmore rebuilds, CBC The National

06/29/2013, Editorial: Manitoba-style floodway not for Calgary, Calgary Herald

06/27/2013, Rockies, flood plains will need to be re-mapped, News Talk 650 CKOM

06/27/2013, Colorado fires brought Bow Valley rain, Rocky Mountain Outlook

06/26/2013, How floods affect all homeowners, The Real Estate Talk Show, AM640 Talk Radio

06/25/2013, Alberta floodwaters head to Manitoba, CBC News

06/25/2013, Alberta floods: Hydrologist, CBC As It Happens

06/25/2013, Predicting Floods, Alberta Primetime

06/24/2013, ‘Utter destruction’ leaves campgrounds a mess ahead of long weekend, Calgary Herald

06/24/2013, Calgary Eyeopener, Hydrologist John Pomeroy, CBC Radio One

06/24/2013, Climate change and the Alberta flood, Macleans

06/22/2013, Sask. residents stranded in Alta., The StarPhoenix

06/22/2013, Disaster plan for nation wise, The StarPhoenix

06/06/2013, Saskatchewan not built for spring flooding, News Talk 650 CKOM