5 things to watch out for in spring

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There is a good and bad side to everything. Just as the warmer weather and beautiful greenery are part of spring, the following are also part of this season:

  1. Pothole season

    It is a common sight to see these craters on Manitoba roads when the snow clears. Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of groundwater after it has seeped under the pavement. In winter, frozen water causes the pavement to expand, bend and crack. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts and leaves gaps on the surface. Continued freezing and thawing weakens this spot. Add to this the weight of vehicles passing over and wearing it out, and the result is a pothole (How do potholes form and why are they the worst in the spring?).

    The first thing to remember during pothole season is to drive with caution. Aside from causing a shock to your system, driving over potholes can cause real damage to your vehicle (as well as to your wallet) and can also lead to accidents. But don’t worry, Manitoba crews work round the clock to patch these holes to keep roads safe. If you spot large potholes in your area, keep other motorists safe by calling 311 or report it online if you’re in Winnipeg.

  2. Tick season

    Watch out for wood ticks and blacklegged ticks in spring. These insects come out from hiding once the snow melts. Blacklegged ticks are particularly worrisome as they can carry Lyme disease. These ticks are smaller than wood ticks and look like black sesame seeds (male) or brown seeds with black legs (female).

    Cover up if you’re going out for hike or camping so you don’t get bitten. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, closed shoes and socks, and use bug repellent containing DEET. When you get home, do a tick check before going inside.

    If you catch a tick, try not to crush it. Pick it up carefully as it can burrow deeper into your skin. Submit a photo of the tick to eTick website or app. If you were bitten, consult your family doctor immediately and follow instructions for treatment.

  3. Allergy season

    Spring and summer are allergy seasons in Manitoba. If you’re sneezing often and suffer from cold-like symptoms, it could be seasonal allergy. Pollen is the most common culprit. It comes from flowers, trees, weeds and grass. April and May are the worst months for tree allergies; June and July for grass allergies. If you suspect that you or anyone in your family is suffering from allergies, note down the usual time the symptoms come out and the possible triggers. These details will help your doctor provide a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Those prone to allergies can benefit from checking forecasts from Accuweather and pollen forecasts from The Weather Network.

  4. Flooding

    Also called spring melt or thaw, floods are caused by snow and ice melting due to the warmer weather. According to CBC News, five variables determine flood conditions: soil moisture at freeze up in the fall, channel capacity of rivers, moisture levels in snow, the rate of the snow melt, and rain during spring melt. When these variables are high and river channel capacity is low, the result is flooding. If you’re living in a low-lying area, keep a close watch by getting news from Manitoba Government News Flood Bulletins or local news outlets like CBC News Manitoba.

  5. Sudden weather shifts

    Just when you thought it’s safe to keep your winter boots and jacket in storage, Environment Canada puts out a blowing snow warning! Manitoba weather can be unpredictable in spring so keep your jackets, gloves and tuques still on hand. Add an umbrella for good measure. Stay safe!

Article updated March 19, 2024.

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