Cities work to avoid a snowmelt flood as temperatures rise

Regina and Saskatoon are both seeing above normal temperatures this week, which could lead to a quick thaw.

Workers in both cities started going out earlier this week to clear storm drains in preparation.

The City of Regina says it prioritizes work on its 22,000 storm drains based on the level of risk to public safety or the risk of property damage.

Residents in both cities are encouraged to help keep drains clear and to make paths for snowmelt to drain.

A release from the City of Saskatoon said that despite the record-breaking snowfall in November, Saskatoon actually saw less snow than average this year.

Additionally, the release said the citywide snow removal following that storm will help prevent flooding on residential streets and sidewalks this spring.

The city is also encouraging residents to clear snow and ice from sidewalks to avoid big puddles from forming, and to protect against icy conditions during the freeze-thaw cycle.

Snow should also be kept in your yard, the city said. Throwing it on the street can affect drainage.

If residents notice water collecting that’s impacting traffic or crosswalks, they can call the Customer Care Centre.

The City of Saskatoon warns that if snow melts quickly, your home may be at risk of flooding even if you haven’t flooded before.

City of Saskatoon tips for avoiding a snowmelt flood

  • Remove snow from around your foundation, especially around window wells. 
  • Remove snow from along the outside edges of lots, where most lots drain. 
  • Clear snow and ice from around the bottom of your downspouts and extend the downspouts at least two metres so that water drains away from your foundation.
  • Check your roof and eavestroughs for excess snow. Consider hiring a professional to clear snow from your roof. A roof rake may help to clear the snow and debris from the edge of your roof.
  • Consider using sandbags to block water from entering low-lying areas beside your foundation.
  • If water is getting close to your foundation, use an appropriate pump to drain it to the gutter or back lane. 

City of Regina tips for protecting your home from a flood

  • Test sump pumps and backflow prevention valves to ensure they are working properly. If you do not have either of these, consider installing them.
  • Remove items that are blocking the water drainage pathway to the floor drain.
  • Store valuables in watertight containers or raise them off the basement floor.
  • Store hazardous materials in watertight containers or remove them from the basement.
  • Raise electronics off the basement floor.

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