Where will Winnipeg's piles of snow go in the spring melt?
As many in Winnipeg enjoy milder temperatures this week, after months of frigid winter weather, some are wondering if all the snow piled up across the city will cause flooding in the spring.
About 140 centimetres of snow has fallen on the city so far this winter, bringing this season's snowfall on par with last year, says CBC meteorologist John Sauder.
But thanks to sustained colder temperatures, the snow on the ground hasn't been melting as quickly as it did last year, resulting in a higher snowpack at this time of year.
Sauder said the possibility of flooding will depend on the speed of the spring snow melt.
"If we get a very fast melt, there's nowhere for that melt water to go because the ground is still frozen. So a fast melt would be a very bad thing," Sauder said Tuesday.
"Add to that spring precipitation in the form of either a late-season storm or some spring rains in April, and we could see a very bad flood situation by early May."
Stephen Sumka, a former deputy fire chief who has worked on emergency preparations before, says he thinks the City of Winnipeg should start thawing drains on major roads.
"The time is here, yes. We could've done it a little bit sooner," he said.
"We've done it on Pembina Highway already and the rapid transit corridor. Now let's look at other areas of the city."
A city spokesperson told CBC News the drainage system can handle the upcoming snow melt, and crews are available to thaw frozen drains as necessary.
Meanwhile, Sumka said residents can do their part to prevent spring flooding in their neighbourhoods.
"If they have a mild day and they know where their catch basin is, open it up," he said.