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Bragg Creek flood of 2013

Compare flood of 2005 (click here) with 2013 (this one)

See the damage done to the Elbow Valley and West Bragg Creek in Kananaskis here.

During the 24-hour period betweet 11:00 AM Wednesday, June 19 to 11:00 AM June 20, 98 mm of rain fell. As of 11:00 AM June 22 about 168 mm of rain had fallen in 3 days. This of course causes Bragg Creek and the Elbow River to swell and in many places, overrun their banks. Roads get flooded, trees come down, basements in low-lying homes get flooded.

flood mapLast year they did a major upgrade to the Bragg Creek Shopping Centre parking lot that used to turn into a small lake during floods. This year the water from the parking lot was displaced onto Balsam Avenue and into the businesses around the parking lot.

The bridge over the Elbow River on Balsam Ave was closed for some time due to the erosion of the embankment and potential structural damage to the bridge caused by a building that crashed into it as it washed away downstream. The recently buried gasoline tank installed in the reconstruction of the Husky gas station floated up out of its hole and back to the surface. Major damage was sustained by the original Trading Post store (number 7a on the map) and a huge parcel of land along River Dr. S., shown in dark blue, washed away.

The Infusion Restaurant, next to the Old West Mall (1) sustained significant damage as the plot of land known as the Herron Property which lies between Balsam Ave. and River Dr. S. became a torrent of water flowing into the Elbow upstream of the bridge.

The hamlet in general suffered major damage. West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen got away mostly unscathed. They were isolated, unable to cross the bridge, even on foot for most of a couple of days and their land line telephone and wireless internet were cut off. Cell phone coverage is spoty at best so it was very difficult to find out what was happening. For everyone in Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows it was a stressful time.

 

View a video of the raging torrent of muddy water in the Elbow River at Bragg Creek

 

 

View a video of the tragic loss of the orginal Trading Post store on White Avenue

 

Here are some photos of the flooding.

Balsam Ave. bridge closed over the Elbow River
Balsam Ave. bridge closed over the Elbow River
  • Balsam Ave. bridge closed over the Elbow River
  • Balsam Avenue flooded
  • This is one angry nasty river of dirty water
  • A private driveway in West Bragg overrun by the creek
  • The West Bragg Recreation Area bridge
  • West Bragg Creek road flooded in several locations
  • The one remaining old bridge in West Bragg near Wild Rose
  • The new bridges are well clear of the high water
  • Railing of the Bracken Road bridge got damaged by a logg floating downstream.
  • The old dancehall inunddated. Bracken Rd. closed
  • Tree down on the road to Wintergreen.
  • View of Elbow River upstream from Balsam Ave. Bridge after 2013 flood
  • View of Elbow River upstream from Balsam Ave. Bridge in 2005
  • The embankment under the Balsam Ave. bridge has been washed away
  • The Infusion Restaurant suffered significant property damage, but the building appears to be intact.
  • The original Trading Post on White Ave. was destroyed. That is a huge loss to the roots of our community

 

Chart showing river flow at the Bragg Creek station on the Elbow River.

 

 

The high water level of 4.73 m was reported on June 20 at 11:00 AM with a volume of water of 560 cubic metres per second. That is a lot more water rushing past, through and over Bragg Creek than occurred in 2005.

http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/Map.aspx?Basin=8&DataType=1

 

Here is a comparison of river flows between 2005 and 2013.

2005 vs 2013

Check the current snow pack and river flow here: http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/default.aspx

elbow before _after

 

The Recovery

Flood Recovery Information session held at the Community Centre July, 25

flood hazardThe flood recovery guy said their "Disaster Recovery Program" will help people restore their property to a functional equivalent. If you lost a fur coat worth $5,000 they'll cover the cost of a $500 down parka. They'll do an infrastructure evaluation and restore the integrity of your building to the foundation. The landscape is outside of their mandate. Uninsurable assistance is available. You have to file for flood assistance and there is an approval process. Money is available for the cost of dislocation and to rebuild businesses as well as residences, although getting people back into their homes is a priority. He suggested we look at the U.S. FEMA web site for flood mitigation techniques.

I said we need a second exit as the bridge has proven, both in the 2005 flood and clearly in 2013, to be unreliable. In my opinion another bridge is not the solution. We need an emergency road with an exit near Kiwanis. They said that's not their problem; that we need to raise the issue with the county. I understand that it's not part of this disaster recovery, but it is a disaster waiting to happen. It will require a provincial and regional solution.

This is the provincial policy:

"Under a new policy direction announced July 14, flood victims living in flood ways in affected communities will have the choice to relocate or rebuild using funding from the Disaster Recovery Program. Residents who rebuild inside floodways will not be covered by this program in the event of a future flood, while residents living in flood fringe areas will receive future compensation for damages only if they rebuild with specific flood-proofing measures. Flood victims living in floodways will be assisted if they wish to move out of flood risk areas. Additionally, the province will amend legislation to prohibit municipalities from allowing future development in floodways."

The CBC covered the event

Provincial assistance for rebuilding and relocating

Provincial Flood Hazard Map

U.S. FEMA Plan, Prepare, Stay informed
FEMA Flood response information

Download the Red Cross book "Repairing Your Flooded Home"