“It’s just outside of the very high category … That Rosthern, Shellbrook, Blaine Lake area is in the very high category,” said Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency.
“It looks like Prince Albert for the time being is outside of that. Of course, so much depends on the rate of melt and how much additional precipitation we receive as snow or rain in the coming weeks,” he added.
Even with a large dump of snow coming late Sunday and early Monday morning, director of public works Colin Innes said the city continues to enjoy a “gentle melt.”
“I don’t think a whole pile has changed here within the city,” he said. “At the start of February, everyone was wondering, ‘Where’s all this snow going to go if it keeps falling?’ ... But right now, I think we’re in reasonable shape. As long as the spring keeps coming on gently like it has, I think everything should be OK.”
As well, Innes said the recent snowfall’s contribution to a higher spring runoff would have a minimal effect on the known areas of concern for a spring runoff.
“Really, what the main issue there with all of those locations was to get rid of that large accumulation that we had from the start of the winter season,” he said. “I don’t think our recent snowfalls here are going to have a very big effect on the runoff.”
Still, Innes said a large snowfall at the end of the month could be impactful.
“If you get two feet of snow at the end of March and it’s heavy and wet, that can really throw a kink into things,” he said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it stays this way.”
Cheveldayoff said that while the mountain runoff continues to remain normal, his concern is the runoff that will come from the snowpack.
“My information is that the mountain runoff will be very normal,” he said. “Right now, what we’re very concerned about is the snowpack in the province and how that melt occurs and any additional precipitation that we might get.”
In case of a late-month snowfall, Innes advised residents to move away as best as possible any high accumulation of snow that’s gone up the sides of their homes.
Cheveldayoff added that Water Security Agency encourages individual property owners to ensure that storm water catch basins are open.
“They want people to shovel snow away from their home and move it to areas where it can clearly drain,” he said. “They want to clear channels of ice and snow, ensure your downspouts are extended so they discharge rain a minimum distance from your home, make sure your sump pump is working.”
The Water Security Agency is currently having meetings, including in the Prince Albert area.
“They are having meetings to talk to communities and municipalities about what can be done now to mitigate possible flooding,” he said.