Water mains in Charlottetown break after temperature plummets

Two water mains broke overnight in Charlottetown as the Island experienced a rapid temperature drop Saturday evening.

Traffic redirected in Douglas Street and Kensington Road areas

A water main break caused water to shoot out onto the street in Charlottetown early Sunday morning. (Submitted)

Two water mains broke overnight in Charlottetown as the Island experienced a rapid temperature drop Saturday evening.

The breaks occurred at Douglas Street and University Avenue, and Kensington Road and Park Street.

Crews were on scene shortly after the first one was reported at around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to Jesse Campbell, works field supervisor with Charlottetown's water and sewer department.

Crews worked overnight on a water main break at Douglas Street and University Avenue in Charlottetown. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Traffic was being redirected on Sunday morning around the two sites.

The University Avenue break was repaired and the road was nearly ready for re-opening by mid-morning, Campbell said.

Crews were still working on the Kensington Road break that was reported at around 5 a.m. Work there is expected to continue into the evening.

Traffic had to be diverted after a water main broke on University Avenue and Douglas Street early Sunday morning. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

A contributing factor to the breaks may have been the thaw and quick freeze that happened in recent days in Charlottetown, Campbell said, although the exact cause hasn't been determined.

"There's a number of factors, age of pipe, location, depth," Campbell said. "This freeze-thaw is also another major issue we notice and we even think barometric pressure might have something to do with some of the issues we see."

High temperatures, rainfall

Much of the Island enjoyed weather above 10 C on Saturday before temperatures rapidly fell in the evening.

Charlottetown broke its highest recorded temperature for Jan. 13 with a high of 14.5 degrees before dropping 10 degrees between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and into the negatives overnight.

Western P.E.I. saw 40 mm of rain on Saturday, leading to high water levels in areas such as Tignish, shown above. (Submitted by Rhonda Gallant)

St. Peter's Bay recorded temperatures of 17.8 degrees before dropping to –5 degrees at night.

While the capital and eastern P.E.I. didn't see much rainfall, other parts of the province did. Western P.E.I. saw about 40 millimetres of rain and light flooding in some areas.

Environment Canada forecasted light snow and freezing rain for Charlottetown on Sunday and had not issued any weather advisories for the Island.

Outdoor rinks closed

The recent warm weather has meant the closure of several outdoor rinks across the Island because of melting ice.

Several days of temperatures as high as 14.5 degrees shut down all outdoor rinks in Charlottetown, Stratford, Summerside and Cornwall.

Public outdoor rinks, including those in Charlottetown, are closed following warm temperatures above 10 degrees in recent days. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Kim Meunier, the manager of parks and recreation for town of Cornwall, said the rinks are important to get people out of the house during winter.

"Typically the winter months, people tend to be more sedentary, and less active," she said. 

"And our rinks are heavily utilized, the one at the APM Centre is very difficult to try and get ice time…. This just opens up the opportunity for people to get out and get active."

With files from Brittany Spencer and Malcolm Campbell