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Reginans encouraged to prepare for wet conditions as crews respond to early spring melt

City crews have started clearing ice and snow around Regina as the warm weather is expected to impact storm drains. File / Global News

Plus temperatures in the forecast in Regina have city crews preparing for wet and icy conditions over the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, City of Regina officials said they are responding to manage the melt as effectively as possible as colder weather conditions are being swapped out for milder weather this week.

With the higher-than-average snowfall this winter, the city is preparing for a busy spring.

“Warm weather means the snow is melting fast and keeping properties safe and dry is a team effort between city crews and residents,” the city’s director of water, waste and environment, Kurtis Doney, said on Tuesday.

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Doney noted that crews have already begun clearing ice and snow on major roads, opening up frozen storm drains, clearing drainage ditches and removing snow to create drainage paths for the spring melt.

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However, he encouraged citizens to do their part if they can by clearing storm drains on streets in order to avoid spring melt challenges such as ponding.

“Work with your neighbours and friends if you need any assistance,” said Doney. “If you require any help from the city, please contact us if there is any threat to property or safety.”

He added that the city can provide temporary pumping solutions in serious situations where ponding has created an immediate, serious threat.

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According to the city, 90 centimetres of snow has fallen in Regina this winter.

Tyler Bien, manager of roadways seasonal operations for the city, said the average for Regina in previous years is about 60 centimetres of snow.

“We have received more than the average this year, but we have stayed on top of it with snow plowing during the winter months,” Bien said.

City officials are reminding residents to prepare their home for the wet conditions.

Inside the home, residents are encouraged to test sump pumps, stow away valuables or raise them off the basement floor and remove items blocking water drainage pathways to the basement floor drain.

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Outside of the home, it’s recommended that people clear snow at least six feet away from their home’s foundation, extend downspouts and sump pump hoses away from the foundation, and remove debris or snow from window wells.

Avoid thin-ice areas

Citizens are also reminded to stay clear from all bodies of water, including Wascana Lake, Wascana Creek, storm channels and detention ponds as the warm weather will affect ice thickness.

Layne Jackson, fire chief for Regina Fire and Protective Services (RFPS), said Tuesday that milder temperatures means there are more opportunities for people to run into an unsafe situation.

“Every year, we respond to a few calls between people and pets,” Jackson shared. “We respond to a half dozen calls throughout the year.”

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Both the city and RFPS are strongly discouraging recreational activities on any body of water like walking, skiing and skating.

Jackson said warm temperatures can cause ice to become thinner along shorelines, making it unsafe to walk on.

“Ice is melting and it changes very quickly,” Jackson said. “A lot of these bodies of water are connected to the drainage system, so we have water flowing, plus the sunlight heating the water beneath the ice, it changes ice thickness.”

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The fire chief added that residents must keep their dogs on a leash if walking near bodies of water. If a pet falls through the ice, people are asked not to attempt a rescue and to call 911 if it’s an emergency.

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