Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that he believes this weekend’s storm will likely be one of the top five most insured disasters in Canadian history – surpassing that of the 2013 Calgary floods.
Councillors heard an overview of the response to Saturday’s hail and torrential rainstorm that devastated parts of Calgary.
Calgary Emergency Management Chief Tom Sampson, fresh off the city’s coronavirus state of local emergency being lifted, said this storm was only predicted by Environment Canada to be moderate in nature.
“This event was a severe thunderstorm, but rapidly intensified over the City of Calgary, specifically in the northeast,” said Sampson.
Sampson said that Calgary’s largest ever hail was recorded – 61 millimetres – the size of a tennis ball, he said.
The city mapped out service requests through 311 with 261
There were also 49 for sewer, 46 for roads and traffic lights, 45 for manhole covers, 44 for debris and 32 for back lane maintenance. 15,000 people were without power, but it was quickly restored, Sampson said.
Chief Sampson also said that Calgary emergency services, like the fire department, were also busy helping roads crews remove debris from storm drains.
The clean up from Saturday’s storm
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal asked about community clean up efforts and getting sweepers out. He said there are a number of community clean ups planned for this weekend and was hoping to coordinate efforts.
Chief Sampson said that street sweepers have been out in Martindale and Taradale. He wasn’t sure what the status was of that work.
Coun. Chahal was concerned about the built up debris once again clogging storm drains should another rain come.
“I think we sometimes put some sandbags around them in the interim, and to clean those streets so a lot of that debris does not end up blocking them again,” said Chahal.
Mayor Nenshi said it wasn’t just the northeast that got hit though. The damage was seen all over Calgary, including in McKenzie Towne in the southeast.
Top 5 insurable event – Mayor Nenshi
Mayor Nenshi said more homes were damaged in this recent event than in the 2013 floods.
“And, in fact, I would be very shocked if this isn’t a top five insurable event costs event in the history of Canada,” said Mayor Nenshi, then asking Chief Sampson if he was being too dramatic.
Sampson said he didn’t think it was too dramatic.
“We’ve had good storms before in Calgary and we’ve had high winds and those sorts of things,” he said.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had that focus magnitude on northeast Calgary.”
More questions came from councillors on the seeding of clouds, an emergency management notification and more. We’ll try to track down more information on this.