Winter storm hits Saskatoon and other parts of Saskatchewan

November 17, 2021
Winter storm hits Saskatoon and other parts of Saskatchewan

Most of Saskatchewan is either under a wind or winter storm warning, as the same weather system that soaked British Columbia brings lower temperatures and high winds. 

A blizzard warning is in effect for Regina, and Saskatoon is bracing for blizzard-like conditions. Southern areas of the province can expect gusting winds while several other regions will likely see some strong winter weather today, forecasters say.

Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said Saskatoon will see a combination of freezing rain and snow, and wind gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour.

She said the city could start to see a dump of 10 to 15 centimetres of snow by the afternoon. 

“This system did come from Hawaii. It’s the same system that wreaked havoc in British Columbia, and we’re going to see temperatures fall below freezing this afternoon,” Lang told reporters on Tuesday.

WATCH | Blizzrd hits Saskatchewan:

Blizzard hits Saskatchewan

Poor visibility and blowing snow has resulted in a blizzard warning for much of southwest Saskatchewan Tuesday morning. This video was taken in Eatonia, Sask. at 9 a.m. CST by Jenny Hagan. Eatonia is 152 kilometres northwest of Swift Current. 0:34

“By Thursday morning, we’re going to have some higher wind chill values probably toward the –20 degree as the system moves to Manitoba.”

She said almost three quarters of the province is affected by the storm.

Saskatoon’s road crews “will be out to keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and Saskatoon Transit,” said Goran Saric, Saskatoon’s director of roadways, fleet and support.

He said city crews will plow Circle Drive and keep the high traffic lanes running.

“Residents should reconsider any unnecessary travel later today and into the evening,” he said, as driving could be dangerous. 

Saric advised drivers to pay extra caution as traffic signs might get covered in snow. He said sidewalks adjacent to city facilities and bridges will be cleared within 48 hours, but residents and business owners will be responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their properties. 

Saskatoon’s vaccine clinic at Prairieland Park was not able to open as scheduled on Tuesday morning due to a power outage, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Many regions in Saskatchewan face wind or winter storm warnings on Tuesday afternoon, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Pamela Goulden-McLeod, director of emergency management at the city, said residents should be prepared and carry emergency kits and charged phones if they have to travel.

“Multiple agencies and organizations are working together to ensure that everyone has access to a safe emergency shelter during extreme weather events,” she said. 

The city officials said there are no power outages in Saskatoon so far, but strong winds could cause localized outages. 

According to Saskatchewan Highway Hotline, icy or slippery conditions and wet roads subject to freezing would be found on highways in Saskatoon, Yorkton, Swift Current and Moose Jaw. Poor or reduced visibility will continue in parts of Prince Albert, Meadow Lake, La Ronge and North Battleford.

Blizzard warning for Regina

Regina could see wind gusts of up to 110 km/h on Tuesday, coupled with poor visibility and snow up to five centimetres, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

Tyler Bien, manager of roadways and seasonal operations, says the city is working keep major roads driveable. 

“Our ice control crews have been out all day … pre-applying some ice control, sanding and getting ready for the incoming storm,” Bien told reporters.

Major roads and emergency routes will be plowed throughout the entire storm. 

“We’re currently in the storm response mode. We have about 50 pieces of equipment ready with our contractors. We’re prepared for it. We’ve been preparing since October for this,” he said.

Several areas in Saskatchewan also got freezing rain on Monday night, said Kyle McAulay, operational meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The central parts of Saskatchewan can expect snowfall of up to 15 centimetres, and Meadow Lake has already received about 16 centimetres of snow, said McAulay.

The wind, however, might become the bigger challenge on Tuesday. Across southern Saskatchewan McAulay expects winds of up to 110 km/h, with Swift Current already experiencing strong winds of around 102 km/h.

WATCH | Heavy rains batter B.C.:

Widespread damage from relentless rain in B.C.

The relentless rain has caused widespread damage throughout B.C.’s Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland and into Vancouver Island, with a state of emergency being declared in Abbotsford. 2:57

According to McAulay, Saskatchewan won’t be out of the woods by the end of the day, either, depending on where you’re located.

“Generally, this is going to be pretty gusty conditions overnight, not as strong as of midday today, and then Wednesday, a little bit lighter, but still gusty nonetheless.”

He recommended people in areas of high wind secure loose items outside and take shelter from falling trees or items.

“Give yourself extra time if you have to drive,” he said.

“With the falling snow as well, you can see some reduced visibility.”

As of Tuesday morning, travel was not recommended on several roads in northern parts of the province, according to Saskatchewan’s highway hotline.

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