Saskatchewan cities prepare for extreme wind, freezing rain and icy roads

Click to play video: 'Windy Thursday: Jan. 13 Saskatchewan weather outlook'
Windy Thursday: Jan. 13 Saskatchewan weather outlook
WATCH: Winds will ease slightly, but it will still be breezy Thursday. Meteorologist Peter Quinlan with all the details in your SkyTracker weather outlook for Wednesday, Jan. 13 – Jan 13, 2021

UPDATE: Blizzard leaves icy mess across Saskatchewan, highways closed

Cities across Saskatchewan are gearing up for potential wet, snowy and icy driving conditions.

Most regions in the province are either under a wind warning or a winter storm warning as of Wednesday morning.

Environment Canada says strong winds with severe and damaging gusts are expected in southern regions.

Regina is expected to see a mix of freezing rain and snowfall into Thursday afternoon, with the City of Regina putting the focus on keeping the roads safe.

Read more: Most of Saskatchewan under wind or winter storm warnings

“Sander trucks will continuously monitor and apply sand/salt to the Category 1-4 road network which includes major roadways, hospital and transit routes, commercial areas and areas near schools, as needed,” the City of Regina said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

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“Residents are encouraged to take extra caution when driving. Slow down and be safe. Plan your route by knowing the road categories.”

If it snows more than five centimetres in Regina, the city says plows would begin work on roads that include expressways, arterials and hospital routes.

Residents are being told to keep their sidewalks and driveways safe.

Read more: Blustery Wednesday forecast for southern Saskatchewan

“Residents are encouraged to bring their own container and fill it up with sand to use on their sidewalks and driveways,” the city said.

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During these types of weather conditions, the city said its services may be delayed such as recycling and garbage pickup and transit schedules.

The city declared that snow routes are in effect, meaning there is no on-street parking along the identified routes for a 24-hour period.

Regina police reported seven collisions between 11:29 a.m. to 1:01 p.m., none of which, resulted in injury.

The same message is being relayed in Saskatoon as it expects severe winds for both Wednesday and Thursday along with possible freezing rain and snow.

As usual, the initial response will focus on treating priority (highest traffic) streets and access to emergency services. Intersections, bridges and school zones are also high priority,” the City of Saskatoon said in a release on Tuesday.

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Read more: Motorists asked to stay off highways amid southern Saskatchewan winter storm

“Sanding and salting will be carried out as needed. Crews are prepared with 15 graders, 10 front plows with sanders, four underbelly plows, 20 sanders and 11 sidewalk plows and numerous other pieces of equipment such as loaders, dozers and snow blowers.”

The City of Saskatoon said snowplows and graders will also be out moving snow off roadways if necessary and is advising drivers to stay off the roads if possible.

“Drivers that do venture out should be prepared for icy roads, snow accumulation and reduced visibility due to blowing snow and drifting,” the City of Saskatoon said.

“A reminder to keep an eye out for snow equipment — stay at least 2-3 vehicle lengths behind and be prepared to stop quickly.”

Click to play video: 'Motorists asked to stay off highways amidst southern Saskatchewan winter storm'
Motorists asked to stay off highways amidst southern Saskatchewan winter storm

The City of Saskatoon said light and power staff are prepared for any service interruptions and will provide regular service alerts as issues arise

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Saskatoon Transit is operating as regularly scheduled.

As of 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Saskatoon police reported collisions on College Drive and McOrmond Drive, Central Avenue and Fedoruk Drive, and Circle Drive and Clarence Avenue.

None of the collisions are believed to have resulted in any serious injuries, police say.

In Prince Albert, weather conditions caused the city to close all of its facilities including City Hall, Municipal Service Centre, Old City Yards, the Arts Centre, the Alfred Jenkins Field House, arenas, Frank J. Dunn Pool, Little Red River Park and the landfill.

Crews are currently out sanding roadways beginning with main streets and known hotspots.

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