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Snow melt prompts flooding concerns, but Vancouver says crews are on patrol

Click to play video: 'Snow begins to disappear across B.C. South Coast' Snow begins to disappear across B.C. South Coast
The risk of freezing rain and slick conditions persisted in some communities on Saturday. As Nadia Stewart reports, some are still running into problems, as the big snowmelt begins. – Jan 18, 2020

With snow no longer in the forecast for Metro Vancouver, concerns are now moving to possible flooding.

Rising temperatures and steady rains are set to melt the buckets of snow that fell on the region throughout the week, bringing the possibility of pooling in the streets that could rise onto sidewalks.

Taryn Scollard, director of streets for the City of Vancouver, said while snow removal crews have been pulled back, those that remain are ensuring flood impacts are kept at a minimum.

Click to play video: 'End of ‘Snowmageddon’ in Metro Vancouver could lead to different problems' End of ‘Snowmageddon’ in Metro Vancouver could lead to different problems
End of ‘Snowmageddon’ in Metro Vancouver could lead to different problems – Jan 16, 2020

“Anytime the snow turns to rain, we want to make sure our catch basins are clear,” she said Saturday. “With a number of them in the city, it’s important to keep them as dry and clear as possible.”

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Scollard said there are now less than 10 crews of two to four workers spread throughout the city, far down from the hundreds that were deployed during the snowfall to plow streets and paths.

READ MORE: Winter storm shifts from snow to rain, freezing rain for much of B.C. South Coast

Those crews have also spent time preemptively clearing catch basins and drains in anticipation of the coming snowmelt and rain.

But with over 44,000 catch basins spread across Vancouver, she said it’s also up to residents to play a part.

“Even though we have crews out, it’s impossible to get to everything, so we would appreciate the help,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Heavy rains cause massive flooding in downtown Vancouver' Heavy rains cause massive flooding in downtown Vancouver
Heavy rains cause massive flooding in downtown Vancouver – Sep 9, 2019

She pointed to the city’s Adopt a Catch Basin program, where homeowners and business owners alike can take it on themselves to keep drainage spots clear.

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Rain is expected to last well into next week, which will make the existing snow heavier as it melts.

That brings its own concerns, with snow due to slide off sloped roofs and block home drainage systems.

Shaun Mayhew with Penfolds Roofing & Solar says the situation also makes it dangerous for roofing crews trying to work on sloped roofs.

READ MORE: TransLink reviewing ice removal operations after back-to-back SkyTrain track issues

“It’s a recipe for disaster,” he said. “It’s the last thing you want to do.”

He said homeowners and businesses with flat roofs or awnings should work to clear their drain pipes to ensure they don’t freeze, blocking the snow and potentially creating damage.

Reports of flooding or pooling can be made in Vancouver by calling 311 or going online.

More information about flood prevention can be found on the city’s website.

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