Rapid snow melt not leading to repeat of 2013 flood, experts say
Despite issuing spring runoff advisory, province's river forecast centre not worried about massive flooding
While the rapidly melting snow and ice might have southern Albertans worried about a repeat of last June’s disastrous floods, experts say that is not likely to happen.
Alberta Environment says the mountain snowpack is considered average to above average, but it is not expecting major problems when that snow eventually melts.
University of Calgary hydrologist Masaki Hayashi said this year’s conditions are very different from 2013.
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And while he hasn't seen this much snow since 2007 — resulting from a colder than normal winter with few chinooks — it’s not enough to replicate last year’s massive flooding.
"Last year's flood was caused by the rivers carrying water from the mountains. And most of that as heavy rain and also a little bit of snow melt combined. So that caused flooding along the major river corridors,” he said.
“But this one is local snow melt. So the mountain snow is still sitting there. It's not going to melt for another month or two. So it’s a quite different situation."
The recent rapid melting was enough to prompt Alberta Environment to issue a spring runoff advisory earlier this week.
Evan Friesenhan, manager of the province’s River Forecast Centre, said they want to raise awareness about potential flooding around blocked storm drains, low lying areas and basements.
"We're not worried about any massive flooding. This is just an awareness piece so that Albertans understand the snow melt is a little faster than normal,” he said.