Communities in southeastern Saskatchewan are still trying to dig themselves out of a blizzard that bombarded towns with high speed winds and large volumes of snow.
“It’s white and there is a ton of snow. Definitely the most snow I’ve seen in southeast Saskatchewan in some time,” said Estevan resident James Jones.
Most businesses reopened in Estevan by Friday afternoon but the city received 10 more centimetres of snow Saturday and it continued to fall into Sunday.
The main roads in the city have been cleared however the cleanup will continue in the days to come with plows working right through the long weekend.
“We’re coined ‘the energy city’ and I would say that it’s taken a tremendous amount of energy here over the last 3 or 4 days to try and dig out from this storm. It’s been pretty impressive to see residents and contractors and the city public works crew just working tirelessly really to get the snow out of the bays and off the streets and keep the main arteries open in the city,” said Jones.
“They do what it takes. They come out at four or five in the morning, work all day and sometimes into the evening to get the worst of the snow removed and we absolutely appreciate it,” echoed Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig.
It’s been a true team effort in Estevan this long weekend to overcome the logistical challenges the blizzard has presented after many started to believe earlier in the week that they would dodge the storm.
“A local nurse that maybe wasn’t able to drive into work so walked across a field full of snow all bundled up to get to work. Those types of stories are pretty impressive. I would say that the community kind of bound together and helped each other but lots of digging out and efforts but now fun to see some of the kids that are making use of playing in the snow,” said Jones.
“Our citizens are very patient and very willing to help each other which is very heart warming. You know getting out of their homes to push vehicles that are stuck, helping out the neighbours. Yea that’s really been nice,” said Ludwig.
The snow removal is essential not just for local transportation but to attempt to control potential flooding from the inevitable melt.
“The issue that we are going to have is come Monday and Tuesday when the weather starts to warm up quite a bit the trucks that are hauling snow will get stuck. That’s why everyone’s agreed to work all weekend. Get the bulk of the snow taken care of because as soon as it starts warming up we won’t be able to go to the snow dumps. It’s just too soft with the melting,” said Ludwig.
With water levels down in the area at places like Boundary Dam and Rafferty Dam after some dry years the melt and runoff is welcome by many.
“One good thing about it is the farmers are a big part of our economy. They’ll be happy because now the water table should have been replenished when all of this melts and hopefully we can look forward to another good crop this year,” said Ludwig.
The city is looking at the positives from a storm they won’t soon forget.
“I would say the thing that was different about this storm was the sheer volume of snow that fell in such a short period of time. We definitely have lots of winter weather over the course of the season but to have that amount of snow come in such a short period time was really quite intense and pretty overwhelming,” said Jones.
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