Snowfall warnings, watches issued for most of Sask. ahead of weekend storm
REGINA -- Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued winter storm watches and warnings for half of the province Friday afternoon.
Calling it a “major winter storm,” ECCC said it will impact southern Saskatchewan this weekend.
“It comes in two waves,” Warren Dean, CTV Regina’s Senior Weather Specialist, said. “The first wave will miss Regina. We’re going to get our big shot into Sunday.”
According to ECCC, a powerful low pressure system will begin affecting west central and central parts of the province on Saturday. 10 to 15 centimetres of snow are expected, along with a risk of freezing rain.
ECCC said the main system will arrive on Sunday with “more intense and widespread and severe winter weather” to southern Saskatchewan.
The heaviest snowfall is expected to hit the southwestern corner of the province up to Hudson Bay, with 30 to 50 cm of snow falling by Monday afternoon. In the southwest, wind gusts could reach more than 70 kilometres an hour, bringing with it blizzard conditions.
The storm watch said freezing rain is likely from Regina east and north to Yorkton and the Manitoba border, which will intensify around Sunday afternoon before switching to snow early Monday morning. Freezing rain accumulation could reach between five and 15 millimetres.
ECCC is advising people to avoid travel if possible. The province said the Ministry of Highways is ready to respond, with 300 snowplows stationed at 75 locations across Saskatchewan. The Ministry reminded drivers to check road conditions and forecasts before heading out, and be mindful when passing or approaching snowplows.
“Get that car emergency kit ready. If it isn’t in your vehicle, definitely put it in there this weekend,” Dean said.
The City of Regina is also prepared with crews in place. The focus will be on clearing roads and intersections with the highest speeds, highest volumes of traffic, and emergency routes.
“We've been planning all week to ensure that we have all of our pieces of equipment, as well our internal forces, as well as our contractor support scheduled and on duty as of Sunday morning, to work through both the Sunday day shift and the Sunday night shift,” said Chris warren, Director of Roadways and Transportation for the City of Regina. “Our plans in place are to address the snow from the minute it starts falling.”
Twenty-five centimetres of snow or more will also mean a residential plow in the city, but more information will be provided if that happens.
The province is encouraging everyone to download the SaskAlert app to stay up to date with the situation. The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is also standing by, ready to help with extra support.
SaskPower is also preparing for the storm, with teams at the ready in case of power outages.