Calgary warns of imminent and potentially dangerous snowmelt

Mar 18 2019, 4:33 pm

Somewhere underneath all that snow and ice is the lush, green Calgary that we all know and love — and it’s only a matter of days before we start seeing the first glimpse of a snowless YYC again.

While we can’t promise that the coming warmth will get rid of all of winter’s remnants, it’s clear that a significant thaw is on its way in the form of double-digit temperatures throughout this entire week.

That may be cause for celebration, but the City of Calgary is reminding residents that it’s also a call to action on the part of residents throughout the city.

A public service announcement was published on the city’s newsroom on Monday, March 18 warning of a quick snowmelt and providing a few tips for how Calgarians can protect themselves (and their homes) from potential damage during the first few days of spring.

Here’s the list:

  1. Shovel snow away from the foundation of your home to prevent seepage into your basement. Don’t forget your window wells!
  2. Check to ensure that furnace and exhaust vents are clear of snow and ice. Blocked vents can create carbon monoxide build up.
  3. Ensure your downspouts and eavestroughs are clear and free of debris. Point or direct them away from your home/foundation and neighbouring properties.
  4. Clear snow or debris away from the storm drain (catch basin). If needed, create a channel to facilitate water flow. If you find that the storm drain is iced over, do not try to remove the ice yourself. Call 311 and a crew will clear the ice for you. Don’t chip away at ice on storm drains as you may damage it or injure yourself.
  5. If water pools near the storm drain give it 90-120 minutes to drain before contacting 311. The city has special devices in storm drains (in most communities developed after 1988) that allows the water to drain slowly and not overload the stormwater system.
  6. If you see pooled water on a roadway, be extra cautious. Don’t drive through deep water as you can’t see potential risks or conditions that might be unsafe.
  7. Test your sump pump. Spring is the ideal time to test your sump pump. A working pump could prevent flooding in your basement.

The release also noted that there are about 60,000 storm drains throughout Calgary that leads straight into the Bow and Elbow Rivers, making it crucial to make sure that the water being drained is as clean as can be.

And, while it wasn’t specified in the city release, we would also recommend having a canoe handy just in case your street starts to flood — much like this one crafty Calgarian from last year!