Despite the extremely cold and long winter, retailers in Winnipeg say sales have been warming up for weeks.

“People have got the itch, and they’re starting to get out,” said Scott McKee of McMunn and Yates Building Supplies on Richmond Avenue.

McKee said barbecues have been selling and so has patio furniture, and at least so far, spring sales are going really well.

“The decks, the railings, the landscaping products – people are out, and they’re looking for ideas. It’s an exciting time,” said McKee.

Winnipeggers Bill and Shirley Pochuk were out at the store on Friday.

They said they can’t wait to be able to enjoy their deck.

“We go out there every morning [in the summer] and sit on the deck and have our coffee,” said Bill. “That’s what we’re looking forward to.”

Sunday to be warm and sunny, forecast says

The Pochuks will soon be in luck. The CBC Weather Centre is calling for a high of 10 C on Sunday with sunny, clear skies – a nice reprieve after the coldest winter since 1898.

That’s welcome news for the city’s cyclists.

Tim Woodcock, the owner of Woodcock Cycleworks, said the city’s cycling enthusiasts have already dropped off tons of bikes for spring tune-ups.

“People who have been inside maybe most of the winter are just fed up with it,” said Woodcock. “[They’re] ready for summer so they want to get a head start on it.”

City crews clearing street drains

City crews are also trying to get a head start on spring.

This weekend, crews will be out in full force to clear Winnipeg’s drainage system so it can process all the melting snow.

“At all inlets, what they are going to be doing is they’re using either a pressured steam or hot water combination depending on how difficult it would be to create that drainage channel into the inlet,” said Jim Berezowsky, the city’s manager of streets maintenance.

Berezowsky said the city isn’t too worried the above-normal snow that fell this year will melt too quickly and cause flooding.

He said cooler temperatures at night will help slow down a fast melt.