Alberta clipper pummeling all of southern Sask.: Environment Canada

A photo of the MacDowall Roadway at about 10 a.m. CST on Saturday, as Saskatchewan prepares for a series of severe winter weather. (Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways - image credit)
A photo of the MacDowall Roadway at about 10 a.m. CST on Saturday, as Saskatchewan prepares for a series of severe winter weather. (Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways - image credit)

Environment Canada has issued weather alerts for all of southern Saskatchewan and most central regions, including winter storm warnings, snowfall warnings and a host of special weather statements, as an Alberta clipper is expected to pummel the province.

An Alberta clipper is a storm that develops on the east side of the Rocky Mountains and moves quickly, like a clipper ship on the ocean.

"A strong system that developed in Alberta just moved into the province overnight last night and is going to make its way through … bringing with it pretty much everything but the kitchen sink," CBC meteorologist Christy Climenhaga said Saturday.

Environment Canada has painted central and southeast Saskatchewan red on its public alerts page as of Saturday morning, including Saskatoon and Prince Albert, with several snowfall and winter storm warnings.

Winter storm warnings are issued when regions are experiencing multiple types of severe winter weather simultaneously.

The clipper is expected to reduce visibility to near-zero, with 10 to 20 centimetres of snow and a risk of freezing rain.

Heavy snow will begin to fall by Saturday afternoon, with northwest winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour, the Environment Canada alert said.

That will lead to significantly reduced visibility in blowing snow Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning.

SaskPower reported that as of about 3 p.m. on Saturday, communities southwest of Saskatoon, including Vanscoy, Delisle and surrounding communities, were experiencing an unplanned power outage.

Crews were sent out to determine the cause and repair time, SaskPower said.

Environment Canada
Environment Canada

Some southern regions not under a warning for storms, snowfall or winds — including Moose Jaw — were under an Environment Canada special weather statement, which said strong winds were expected, along with a drop in temperatures and rain that will turn to snow Saturday and into Sunday.

The weather agency also warned surfaces soaked by the rain are likely to freeze, leading to hazardous road conditions.

The provincial highway hotline has recommended against travel on roads southeast of Saskatoon, including Highway 11 and 41 as of 3:30 p.m. CST.

Weather conditions are expected to improve during the day Sunday, but poor road conditions will likely remain, according to Environment Canada, which warned against non-essential travel until conditions improve.