Floods: Information & Facts

Canadian Red Cross volunteer looks at a flooded streetFloods are one of the most common and costly disasters in Canada in terms of property damage. Floods occur when there is heavy or steady rain for several hours or days, which over saturates the ground. They also occur during snow and ice thaw on land and in waterways.

Preparing for Floods: Before, During & After

Flood Basics

All rivers in Canada experience flooding at one time or another. Hurricanes, violent storms, ice jams or dams breaking can also lead to flash flooding. The potential for flood damage is high where there is development on low-lying, flood-prone lands.

Next to spring thaw, heavy storm rainfall is the most common cause of flooding. Heavy rains caused by thunderstorms – or warm, moist air rising rapidly – can produce flash floods. The tropical storms and hurricanes of eastern Canada also carry the risk of heavy precipitation.

Floods can occur in any region, rural or urban, at virtually any time of the year. They have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians over the years. 

A number of flood-prone areas in Canada have been identified by federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Though all levels of government are working to reduce the impact of floods, individuals also play an important role. Everyone has a responsibility to protect their homes and their families. Whether flooding is forecast or imminent you can learn what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Staying informed during floods 


Public Weather Alerts Canada 
Government of Canada Flood Ready

Provincial and territorial information

Each province and territory responds to floods in cooperation with local authorities. In some cases, the federal government may be asked to assist. The majority of provinces and territories have information online on the flood situation in their area, as well as practical information for dealing with floods.

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Northwest Territories
Prince Edward Island

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