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Floods are one of the most common hazards in the Canada. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighbourhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple municipalities.

However, not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days or weeks. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a matter of minutes and without any visible signs of rain. They can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of a thick snow pack, ice jams, or more rarely, an infrastructure failure.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.

It is important to regularly listen to radio or television or check the Web for the latest information related to flooding or potential flooding in your community.

Flood facts

  • A heavy rainfall can result in flooding, particularly when the ground is still frozen or already saturated from previous storms. 
  • Flash flooding – in which warning time is extremely limited – can be caused by severe storms 
  • All rivers experience flooding at one time or another. The potential for flood damage is high where there is development on low-lying, flood-prone lands.
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Information on basement flooding