© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Water drips into puddles that have formed in downtown Prince Albert on Wednesday -- a day that saw its temperature peak at about 7 a.m. with a record 7 C.
If you were to place a bet a couple weeks ago that the weather would peak at 7 C in Prince Albert on Jan. 15, the odds would have been against you.
At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, the weather in Prince Albert peaked at 7 C, far out-heating the previous record of 2.8 C that was felt on this day in 1961.
Environment Canada Jan. 15 tempreatures
Coldest temperature on Jan. 15, 2014: -8 C at 12 a.m.
Warmest temperature on Jan. 15, 2014: 7 C at 7 a.m.
Average maximum temperature: - 13.5 C
Average minimum temperature: -25.6 C
Highest temperature on record: 2.8 C in 1961
Lowest temperature on record: -44.4 C in 1953
City operations manager Alain Trudel noted that he was relieved to see crews finish their downtown snow lift just in time, preventing even slushier conditions in the cityâs downtown core.
âIt was rutted up and they would have been breaking through the soft snow, for sure,â he concluded.
Although things are expected to drop below freezing by tonight, Trudel said that the melting compound theyâve been putting on city streets should prevent things from getting too slippery.
âAll this melt today is from old salt and sand that weâve had down over the last couple of months, so thatâs reacting now that itâs warmer weather,â he said.
âThat may not freeze over, depending on how diluted that is, or how much salt there is in it. If we need to be out there tonight we will be out there this evening salting to keep things opened up.â
Most city streets have had the melting compound and gravel placed on them, minus the cityâs lesser-travelled residential streets.
When it comes to civic snow-clearing efforts, Wednesdayâs warm weather served as a mixed bag, Trudel said.
On one hand, the early melt packed snowbanks down, âBut, itâll probably freeze pretty hard so itâll be harder to move, so there are some pros and cons to that one.â
Snow-clearing efforts continue, with priority two streets expected to be done by Thursday morning, Trudel said.
Two snow lifts have been scheduled for Thursday. One is at Fourth Avenue West from 17th Street to 20th Street, and the other is at Sixth Avenue West from 15th Street to 22nd Street. Detours will be in place during these lifts, which should be completed by the end of the day.
Crews are expected to move on to residential areas by next week.
âBe patient, and sooner or later we will be going through your area,â Trudel said, relaying a message to the public.
âLike I always say, help your neighbours with the snow removal efforts and sidewalk cleaning and that, and weâll get through this winter and be into the summer before we know it.â
Bringing people outdoors
Waskesiuâs Elk Ridge Resort is proving more popular now that theyâre on the warm end of a cold snap, Keshia Savel said while taking care of the front desk on Wednesday.
âPeople have been coming since itâs been warming up,â she said, noting that the cold snap saw few people make the northern trek to the resort village.
With dogsledding, snowmobiling, tobogganing, snowshoeing, skiing and skating available, thereâs much to do during the winter months, she said.
Although wind speeds that peaked at 107 km/h downed trees, forcing the Kinsmen Ski Hillâs closure on Wednesday, interim community services director Jody Boulet said by late afternoon that the hill will re-open as soon as possible.
âThe weatherâs going to be very favourable for using the hill, so we want to make sure we have it back in action as soon as we can,â he said.
âThey already had quite a few weather related delays because it was cold for a while, so weâd hate to delay it any further.â