Bursting pipes new worry as Prairies emerge from wintry deep freeze

Extreme cold across the Prairies that forced people and even penguins inside over the holidays is loosening its bone-chilling grip.

Wind-chilled temperatures well into the -30s C saw the Calgary Zoo bring in the flightless birds, but the thermometer has been rapidly climbing into the single digits in Calgary and Edmonton.

Calgary could be looking at a high of 5 C by Friday,

It’s also getting closer to the seasonal average of about -11 C in parts of Saskatchewan after a week or more of below -30 C.

It’s gradually warming up in Manitoba, too, although temperatures in Winnipeg aren’t expected to rise above the -10 C mark until the weekend.

Environment Canada says an Arctic cold front is being replaced by milder air from the west.

“There’s some mild Pacific air that’s managed to work its way into Alberta and is being dragged east across the Prairies,” said meteorologist Brad Vrojik.

There are still likely to be some temperature differences between the western part of Saskatchewan compared with further east in the province and into Manitoba.

“You might see overnight lows closer to -25 C right near the (Manitoba border. Meanwhile, closer to Alberta you wind up with overnight lows closer to -10 C,” Vrojik said.

The sudden temperature change has led to dozens of calls about burst water pipes at homes and businesses.

Edmonton firefighters responded to dozens of burst pipes Monday night to Tuesday morning. The temperature rose to about -2 C by 4 a.m. — well above the bitter -20s of just 24 hours earlier.

“Burst lines all over town. As temperatures warmed up, the pipes are bursting,” Robert Bend, Edmonton’s fire rescue district chief, told Global News.

“Lines are already frozen and now we’re heating up, so we’ve been chasing all night the broken lines.”

The Calgary Fire Department said it also was dealing with issues connected to broken pipes and water mains. A coffee-roasting shop was closed Tuesday because of damage caused by a pipe that burst inside the business Monday night.

An eight-unit housing complex in the city’s southwest needed to be evacuated after the sprinkler system burst a line and flooded all four floors of the building. It could be at least three weeks before residents can return.

And the RCMP in Airdrie, just north of Calgary, reported that the front desk of the municipal policing building would be closed until further notice because of a water-main break.

“Definitely when we have an extreme cold for an extended period of time, we do see a lot of issues with frozen pipes,” Carol Henke, the fire department’s public information officer, told CTV.

“They don’t often make themselves known until the weather warms up, because the frozen water basically forms an ice block in the pipes, and then, when it thaws, that’s when it makes itself known that there is a water issue.”

Vrojik said warmer temperatures should stick around for a bit, although the forecast suggests it will be getting colder again later in the month.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Provincial watchdog probes often don’t lead to charges against police

An analysis of data from civilian police watchdogs in Canada shows that… Continue reading

Germany finalizing plan to phase out coal energy

BERLIN — Germany’s parliament was preparing Friday to pass new legislation finalizing… Continue reading

Le Chateau starts work on producing 500,000 hospital gowns in Canada

MONTREAL — Le Chateau Inc. says it has started the manufacturing of… Continue reading

Brazilian cowboy to finish trek from Alaska to Calgary with Stampede honour

CALGARY — Brazilian long rider Filipe Masetti Leite is almost at the… Continue reading

Red Deer remains at two active COVID-19 cases

Alberta confirms 94 new cases over past two days

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta Part 2

More insight into the Black Lives Matter movement of central Alberta

Michael Dawe: Canada Day festivities have been interfered with before

Because of the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

Save-On-Foods stores donate to Red Deer Food Bank

Thanks to some hungry central Albertans, the Red Deer Food Bank is… Continue reading

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta Part 2

More insight into the Black Lives Matter movement of central Alberta

Toronto FC leaves for Florida with concerns over COVID-19 situation that awaits

Toronto FC heads to Florida with some unease given recent positive tests… Continue reading

8-month wait almost over for resumption of Chinese soccer

An eight-month wait for the new Chinese Super League to start is… Continue reading

Eastwood’s ankle forced production shift for ‘The Outpost’

LONDON — An accident requiring two screws in his ankle nearly prevented… Continue reading

Patrick Watson says Indigenous acknowledgment ‘censored’ from Canada Day show

MONTREAL — Singer-songwriter Patrick Watson says Heritage Canada edited out a land… Continue reading

Canadian engineer released from Egypt needs treatment, family says

Canadian engineer released from Egypt needs treatment, family says

Most Read