A Colorado low is expected to move across southeastern Saskatchewan with significant amounts of snow and high winds starting on Tuesday evening before tapering off on Friday.
Statistics for Estevan, Sask., show a storm bringing more than 30 cm storm after April 11 has only been observed twice since 1902.
“So, every 59 years on average,” said Natalie Hasell, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s warning preparedness meteorologist. “Perhaps it is appropriate that we are calling this storm historic.”
Hasell said the current model suggests the low itself will not cross into the Canadian Prairies but a trough of low pressure will extend north into southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba that will bring snow and winds starting at around midnight Tuesday.
She said the low is pretty deep and the gradient is strong which will bring strong gusts of wind from 70 to 90 kilometers an hour. Widespread snowfall accumulations of 30 to 50 centimetres are expected.
“This will lead to reduced visibility snow and blowing snow,” said Hasell. “The low stalls over in Minnesota so we will be affected by this storm into Thursday and Friday as well … the storm moves off into northwestern Ontario so areas in the Prairies should see a gradual improvement.”
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) President Marlo Pritchard said residents are asked to prepare and be able to sustain themselves for up to 72 hours in the event that power fails.
“Residents in rural areas may want to string a safety line between houses and outbuildings in case they have to go out during the storm and visibility is significantly reduced,” said Pritchard. “When the storm hits, we recommend staying indoors and if you must go out, dress for the weather. If residents must travel during this time, we encourage them to do so during the day and let someone know your route and arrival time.”
The SPSA are also reminding people that SaskAlert is the Government of Saskatchewan’s emergency public alerting program which will provide critical information on emergencies in real-time, so residents can take action to protect themselves, their families and their property.
“The SaskAlert app is a free download, and users can personalize the app and determine what alerts they receive using these instructions,” according to a SPSA statement. “In addition to downloading the SaskAlert app, residents are encouraged to be sure they have a 72-hour preparedness kit ready.”
Saskatchewan RCMP are urging drivers to be prepared for the storm by checking the local forecast and keep up to date with the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline.
“Be prepared for anything: consider stocking your vehicle with extra warm clothes, candles, matches, non-perishable snacks, a snow shovel, traction mats, booster cables and a tow rope or chain,” stated the Saskatchewan RCMP in a release. “If you become stranded on the highway, do not leave your vehicle. Turn on your vehicle periodically to warm up, but try to conserve fuel. Make sure your tailpipe remains clear of ice and snow, or carbon monoxide could potentially seep into your vehicle.”
According to a statement, due to the anticipated impact of the snowstorm in southeastern Saskatchewan, school buses will be cancelled on Wednesday April 13 and Thursday April 14 for students at École de Bellegarde, which will also remain closed on those two days, exceptionally.
The South East Cornerstone Public School Division will also be closing the school facilities for the next few days due to the upcoming storm.