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Extreme snowstorm response plan approved by Saskatoon city councillors

Saskatoon’s extreme snowstorm response plan developed following the Nov. 7, 2020, blizzard that dumped between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow and paralyzed the city. Global News

Saskatoon now has an extreme snowstorm response plan.

Extra staffing and contractor resources will be activated to restore mobility in the city after a blizzard with snow accumulations of at least 25 centimetres and mobility reduced to the point light vehicles cannot drive on city streets.

Read more: Saskatoon city council learns new cost of blizzard cleanup

“We have a fine-tuned response plan for snowstorms that we scale up for the handful of times each year when more than five centimetres of snow accumulates,” said Goran Saric, director of roadways, fleet and support, in a release Tuesday.

“And now, this plan is a more robust, multi-agency strategy for a future extreme event like we saw in November, allowing us to respond faster and more efficiently city-wide.”

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The plan was developed by administration following the Nov. 7, 2020, blizzard that dumped between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow and paralyzed the city.

Crews spent days and nights cleaning city streets to restore mobility.

It also forced the civic election to be postponed.

Read more: Saskatoon snow cleanup will cost ‘millions of dollars’ after blizzard, city manager says

City administration said it also relied on examples from other cities and input from other agencies and stakeholders in developing the plan.

The last extreme blizzard in Saskatoon was in 2007 when 36 centimetres of snow fell in one day.

City officials said projections using 30 years of historical data estimated a paralyzing blizzard may occur again in 10 to 14 years.

However, they said the frequency and severity of future extreme snow events may be higher — one occurrence every seven years — due to climate change.

Councillors approved the measure on Monday at their regular city council meeting.

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