'I haven't seen anything like this': Southwest Sask. among areas hit hardest by snowstorm

·3 min read
'I haven't seen anything like this': Southwest Sask. among areas hit hardest by snowstorm
'I haven't seen anything like this': Southwest Sask. among areas hit hardest by snowstorm

Final numbers aren't in yet, but a meteorologist says southwestern Saskatchewan was among the hardest hit areas of the snowstorm that battered the province Sunday through Monday, including a record-breaking snowfall for Kindersley, Sask.

Unofficial numbers indicate Kindersley, a town just over 185 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon, broke a single-day snowfall record with 35.8 centimetres, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The previous daily record was 21.3 cm, set on March 17, 1974.

Thirty-one centimetres of snow fell in Limerick, a village nearly 150 kilometres southwest of Regina, according to a Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network observer — essentially a volunteer with weather equipment in their backyard.

Meanwhile, ECCC meteorologist Terri Lang estimates that 40-50 centimetres of snow hit Swift Current, Maple Creek and the surrounding area. But snow wasn't the only problem there, she says.

"The winds really wreaked havoc there," Lang said, adding that the winds caused snow drifts, which led to reduced visibility, especially in the southwest region.

Civic elections were slated to be held throughout the province on Monday, but the provincial government authorized responding officers to postpone them if conditions were too bad.

The responding officers for the City of Swift Current and Town of Maple Creek have postponed their elections until Nov. 12 and Nov. 16, respectively.

Meanwhile, paramedics in Swift Current, roughly 230 kilometres west of Regina, are asking residents to stay home because of the snow on the roads.

"I haven't seen anything like this," said Duane Doane, an intermediate care paramedic in Swift Current, where he's lived for over 30 years.

Roughly 40-50 centimetres of snow was outside the station, but sometimes it would be up near his waist, said Doane, who is about five feet seven inches tall. After the lot was plowed, some piles were around the same height as the bay doors.

Meanwhile, paramedics were often trudging through knee-high snow when dispatched to calls, and running the risk of the ambulance getting stuck, he said. A couple of paramedics even travelled by Ski-Doo to get in to work last night.

Paramedics and firefighters in Swift Current have access to about five Ski-Doos to respond to calls for help if roads are too bad, but they haven't been needed yet, said Doane.

Submitted by Duane Doane
Submitted by Duane Doane

The worst of the storm should be over, says Lang of Environment and Climate Change Canada. But she advises people to check Saskatchewan's highway hotline before venturing out.

Currently, the highway hotline says travel is not recommended along multiple roads in the southwest region.

The Trans-Canada Highway is closed from Carmichael, Sask., all the way to the Saskatchewan-Alberta border because of snow and ice-covered roads.

Motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions, said Lang. They should have their winter tires installed on their vehicle and pack an emergency kit as well, in the event they get stuck.

Winter conditions are present on most Saskatchewan highways, with some exceptions, according to the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline.

There appear to be no unplanned power outages in the area, according to Sask Power's outage map.