Parts of Sask. without power, visibility poor on highways around Regina as blizzard pummels province

November 17, 2021
Parts of Sask. without power, visibility poor on highways around Regina as blizzard pummels province

Thousands of customers are still without electricity Wednesday morning and highways in and out of Regina remain closed as Saskatchewan continues to get hammered by a winter blizzard. 

The storm has calmed down in the northern half of the province, but a large swath of the eastern and southeastern regions, including Regina, Moose Jaw and Indian Head, is still under a blizzard warning.

The blizzard means that parts of the provincial highway system are closed. Travel is not recommended in other areas.

Highways were closed in all directions out of Regina earlier this morning, but they have been reopened.

Driving conditions remain difficult in and around Regina.

As of 8:30 a.m. CT, Highway 1 outside Regina was closed from Junction Highway 6 to Belle Plaine, according to Saskatchewan’s Highway Hotline.

Travel is still not recommended on several roads around the city.

Power outages Tuesday night 

Power outages are still affecting large parts of rural Saskatchewan in wake of the overnight storm.

Repair crews were not able to restore power in some areas affected by the blizzard because of impassable roads and high winds. According to SaskPower, at least 2,642 people in the following communities were without power Tuesday night:

  • Around 2,110 customers in the area west of Melfort, including St. Brieux, Kinistino and James Smith Cree Nation.

  • Around 200 customers in the Antelope Lake, Rush Lake and Herbert areas.

  • Around 200 customers in the Broadview and Ochapowace area.

  • 87 customers in Regina.

  • 45 customers in the Town of Neudorf.

  • Part of the town of Eastend.

SaskPower believes that additional “smaller pockets of customers” might also have been affected.

The blizzard and winter storm conditions left some people in Saskatchewan without power overnight. SaskPower is trying to deal with several unplanned (red) power outages particularly in north-central as well as southwestern Saskatchewan. (SaskPower)

“SaskPower thanks customers for their patience,” the Crown corporation in an email.

“Repairs will resume in the morning as soon as they can be carried out safely.”

Fewer regions in Saskatchewan are under a public weather alert Wednesday morning compared to the previous day, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

In Regina, residents were warned of poor visibility and wind gusting to 90 km/h.

“These extreme conditions are expected to improve this morning,” Environment and Climate Change Canada said on its website. “Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility.”

Several areas in Saskatchewan remained under a wind, blizzard or winter storm warning Wednesday morning. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Regina school buses cancelled

Because of the weather, all Regina Public Schools (RPS) buses as well as light transportation have been cancelled for Wednesday.

School will remain open, RPS said in an email.

Parents are reminded to contact the school if their child stays at home.

RPS expects transportation to resume normally on Thursday, the school division said.

People helping each other

In Saskatoon people and communities worked together on Tuesday, trying to help the most vulnerable during the snowstorm.

The White Buffalo Youth Lodge was handing out warm clothes and the city’s cold weather strategy kicked in to make sure people have access to warming places.

Emergency Management Organization director Pamela Goulden-McLeod said the cold weather strategy for Saskatoon’s vulnerable is activated with warming shelters open for those who need them.

“There are over 20 organizations involved with the cold weather strategy,” Goulden-McLeod said in a media release on Monday.

“These organizations, under the leadership of the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership, work to make sure that individuals and families experiencing or at risk-of homelessness are aware of safe available sleeping options and warming locations.”

Besides bigger organizations coming together to help, individuals are also trying to make a change.

Tuk Gordon  uns a volunteer harm reduction Instagram account, collecting donations to buy goods for people in need.

“I just spent the better part of the afternoon shopping for some supplies for the blizzard that is currently hitting Saskatoon,” Gordon said Tuesday.

“We got some classic hand and foot warmers, about 100 pairs of socks, some good deals on ski pants, some long underwear, snacks that a follower put together.”

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