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City braces for … warmth?

Mercury expected to rise sharply by weekend

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 04:30 pm

PUSHY – Victor Meyer with G&J Parking Lot Maintenance, a contractor for the City of St. Albert, manoeuvres the snow at the city’s snow storage site. City crews have been very busy with snow removal and ice buildup and have started snow removal from the collector roadways.
PUSHY – Victor Meyer with G&J Parking Lot Maintenance, a contractor for the City of St. Albert, manoeuvres the snow at the city’s snow storage site. City crews have been very busy with snow removal and ice buildup and have started snow removal from the collector roadways.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Warmer temperatures aren’t good news for everybody.

With Environment Canada predicting this week’s temperatures could soar to double digit positive numbers on Saturday and produce positive highs for most of the week leading up to that, St. Albert’s public works crews were already preparing for the problems such a dramatic change could bring.

“We’re hoping it might change,” said Dan Rites, director of public works. “We are taking some precautions just to ensure our roadways and our safety and travelling and mobility is kept.”

After an already challenging winter season for the crews – they normally don’t encounter freezing rain, and the snowfall is double the normal average – on Monday staff had already started looking at the storm water system in case warm temperatures cause a lot of run-off.

“We’re looking at our storm water system, doing inspections starting [Monday] that have already commenced as far as our outfalls go to ensure nothing’s frozen or nothing’s impeding drainage,” Rites said.

Lower areas of the city are also being checked out to make sure catch basins are free of snow and ice.

The main issue if the accumulated snow and ice start melting is the potential for the storm system to be overwhelmed, Rites said.

“Our main concern is for safety,” he said. So preparations are already underway with some workers already on standby.

“We have some lists already made up and crews ready and willing to come on if it turns out to be as warm as they say it is,” Rites said.

“If residents are seeing anything out there, where water is starting to pool or anything like that, they’re more than welcome, actually we hope that they do phone in to let us know,” Rites said, noting public works can be contacted at 780-459-1557.

Meanwhile, if the predicted balmy temperatures occur, he suggests residents drive carefully through any water on the road.

“Water depths can be deceiving,” he said.


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