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Mopping up the mess: Cold temperatures create Prairie water pipe problems

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 10:48 AM -

City crews are busy mopping up the mess after several water pipes burst open in major Prairie cities.

Officials say the lengthy cold spell in places like Calgary and Winnipeg are taking a toll on water services.

Winnipeg is experiencing one of the coldest winters on record and has already seen 55 days with temperatures below average.

As a result, more than 500 homeowners have asked the city to come and thaw out their pipes.

Temperatures have dipped dangerously low in Saskatchewan as well, and city crews worked to repair 15 different water main breaks over the weekend when the wind chill made things feel closer to -50.

A LOOK AT THE WINTER SO FAR

"The "core of the doom," or where it's been the coldest this winter, has mainly been in Saskatchewan and Manitoba," says Weather Network chief meteorologist Chris Scott. "Overall temperatures averaged out to be below normal in Alberta as well, but there were some wild ups and downs as we often see."

Don't forget, "we blew the barn doors off the record books in January with way above normal temperatures right across Alberta."

With spring less than three weeks away, will conditions continue to improve across the Prairies?

"May can be an on or off month for snow and keep in mind in Calgary, your biggest ever snowfall was in May. May 6, 1981, 48 cm of snow fell," Scott warns.

He adds that it doesn't necessarily mean the region will see a heavy spring snowfall this year, but it's also not completely out of the question either.

"We've just got to watch for that."


2014 SPRING OUTLOOK: Any hope for spring? More details on the months ahead. 

Parts of the Prairies can expect a significant warm-up as we head into the weekend.

"Calgary for example will see a daytime high of -15°C on Thursday and by Saturday, a daytime high of 10°C is forecast," says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Canada's 2014 Spring Outlook
Alberta's 2014 Spring Outlook
Temperatures to slightly warm up, but snow on the way across the Prairies
Dangerously cold temperatures grip the Prairies

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