Calgary·Video

Calgary prepares for transformation to slush city

It’s about to get much warmer in Calgary, and with so much snow piled up on the roads, gutters and rooftops, it’s going to be a messy melt.

High temperatures mean crews on lookout for clogged storm catch basins, roofers busy clearing off ice jams

It's about to get much warmer in Calgary, and with so much snow piled up on the roads, gutters and rooftops, it's going to get worse before it gets better. 0:46

It's about to get much warmer in Calgary, and with so much snow piled up on the roads, gutters and rooftops, it's going to be a messy melt. 

The daytime temperature is expected to climb from about –3 C on Wednesday to 6 C on the weekend and all the way up to 16 C by Monday and Tuesday.

That will make quick work of the 16 centimetres or so of snowpack Environment Canada says is currently built up in Calgary.

The big melt is expected later this week. (CBC)

But in the meantime, the melt is already causing problems. 

Robert Lapierre, who runs a roofing company in Calgary, says his phone hasn't stopped ringing since last Thursday.

He says this is one of the worst years in the last decade for ice damming — where chunks of ice stop melting water from draining properly off a roof.

"You could end up with a leak inside your home. The biggest problem with that is then you're looking at interior damage … we were at a place yesterday unfortunately it went through four floors."

Robert Lapierre, who runs a roofing company, says he has been getting a lot of calls about ice and snow causing problems on roofs in Calgary. (CBC)

City crews are bracing for a busy few days, too.

With about 60,000 storm catch basins to look after in the city, crews will have their hands full when the snow melts.

Corey Colbran, manager of Calgary's waste water and storm water collection, says members of the public can help by clearing excess snow away from catch basins near their properties.

There are up to 60,000 storm catch basins in the city and crews will have their hands full when the snow finally begins to melt later this week. (CBC)

"Wait about 90 minutes and see if the water does drain away. And if not we would ask that you call 311 and we can dispatch crews to be able to take care of those situations," he said.

The city put out a list of tips to help Calgarians protect their homes from the big snowmelt:

  • Keep downspouts clear and pointed away from the foundation of your home.
  • Shovel snow away from the foundation and window wells.
  • Check furnace and exhaust vents to make sure snow and ice are not blocking them, to avoid possible carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Call 311 to get city crews to clear iced-over storm drains.
  • Don't drive through deep water pooled on roadways. 
  • Clean out your back flow prevention valve, which should be cleaned every six months.
Ice dams can form at the edge of your roof and prevent melting snow from draining properly. We explain how you can clear your roof of snow and prevent water damage. 1:39

Joe Berry, who runs a lawn maintenance company in northeast Calgary, also had some tips for people who have piles of snow on their property.

"Does the water go somewhere? Ask yourself that," he said. "When you're sitting at home tonight or tomorrow when you see the water flowing, where's it going?"

Berry says it's important for homeowners to make sure their drains and gutters are working properly.

Robert Lapierre, left, and his crew clear snow off a roof in Varsity. He says this has been a very bad year for ice dams forming on roofs, preventing proper drainage. (CBC)