Just as the groundhog predicted, winter is not quite over as southern Saskatchewan prepares for up to 20 centimetres of snow over the next two days. Environment Canada has issued snowfall and blizzard warnings while other areas may experience snow and windy conditions.
According to Environment Canada, a blizzard warning is in effect for south Saskatchewan, including the city of Regina. The forecast calls for total snowfall of 15 to 25 centimetres, starting on Friday evening and continuing through to Saturday.
“Conditions will deteriorate rapidly in the early evening hours as snow begins to accumulate,” the department said. “Southeasterly winds gusting to 70 kilometres an hour will coincide with the organized snowfall throughout the same period. Widespread poor visibilities are expected throughout Friday night and whiteout conditions will be possible at times.”
The City of Regina’s roadway seasonal operations said its storm response will start when the snowfall begins.
“We focus on the high-speed, high-volume roads, the high-risk intersections, as well as emergency routes,” seasonal operations manager Tyler Bien said. “We apply ice control. We plow snow off the road to keep those passable for any emergency vehicles or residents going around the city.“
Bien said once the snow stops, operations will move into a systematic plow and will respond accordingly, depending on how much snow Regina receives.
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“We are staffing up (and) we are getting every available piece of equipment out on the road to address any needs that may come up,” Bien said. “If we get what they’re forecasting, we’ll be ready.”
For travellers, CAA Saskatchewan reminds motorists to drive according to the current weather and road conditions.
“Adjust your driving behaviour. So, you’re going to want to make sure that your vehicle is clean of snow and ice so you’re visible,” said Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan’s communications director. “If you need to delay travel, do so. But again, it’s very important if you haven’t taken off those winter tires off your vehicle, good for you because you’ll still need them. Drive according to the conditions and make sure that you are equipped to handle the road conditions as best you can.“
CAA Saskatchewan also reminds motorists to take a roadside safety kit, ensure cellphones are fully charged, and always stay in your vehicle until help arrives if you find yourself stranded.
Saskatchewan RCMP are also asking drivers to plan ahead and check the Highway Hotline for information on road conditions or closures along their planned routes.
“If the conditions look poor, postpone non-essential travel,” Saskatchewan RCMP said. “Scrape all the ice off your windows before driving – if you can’t see, you can’t drive safely.
“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.”
Motorists can find updates on road conditions at Highway Hotline.