After a winter of very little snow, it seems it all came at once with two winter storm systems sweeping across Saskatchewan over the weekend.
Most of the southern half of the province is covered in a heavy blanket of snow and the region is still under snowfall warnings for Monday.
Environment Canada meteorologist Brad Vrolijk said the official report on the total snowfall is about nine centimetres. But in Regina, it actually looks closer to 15 to 20 centimetres, or up to eight inches.
“The heaviest snow looks like it’s set up on a corridor from Indian Head northwards to Wynyard, it looks like they got a good solid 15 to 25 centimetres through that region,” Vrolijk said.
Unfortunately there is more shoveling in store as snowfall warnings continue for east and central Saskatchewan.
“More is on the way, it’s not done yet, there’s one last batch of snow that’s going to develop through the morning in North Dakota and list northwestwards into southeastern Saskatchewan again,” he said.
After letting up for a little while overnight, the sky will open up again Monday morning bringing up to another five to 10 centimetres or up to four inches to Regina through the day and possibly another two to four centimetres overnight.
Environment Canada’s Terri Lang said the Colorado low is lingering, which means more snow could be on the way, until it begins to end Tuesday.
“The wind should start to ease later (Monday) into this evening so that should help with visibility problems as well,” Lang said.
As of Monday morning roads inside the city were a mess. Snow plows are working on main roads, but all side streets are full of snow which could lead to many drivers getting stuck.
Chris Warren is the manager of winter maintenance for the City of Regina and he said this is probably the biggest dump of snow city crews have dealt with in the last five years.
He said 24 big yellow graders plus 11 plow trucks have been working non-stop since yesterday.
“We’ve been cycling through mainly our category one and two streets which are basically the arterial and collector roads,” Warren said.
Streets like McCarthy have seen a quick plow and main thoroughfares like Lewvan are fully cleared.
“We’ve been really just going out there and cycling all these roads just night and day just hour after hour since the snow came.”
As for clearing side streets, if there’s an emergency the city crews can respond, otherwise, Warren asks residents to be patient.
“Right now between 20 and 25 centimetres – obviously there’s more in the forecast – those types of amounts would trigger a residential plow. So the goal here probably would be once we get through the arterial and collector networks, then we can focus our attention on the residential roads after that,” Warren explained
Travel is not recommended on many highways across the southern part of the province and part of Highway 1 was closed off around Balgonie for several hours in the morning. Check the Highway Hotline for updated conditions.
Texters are warning other drivers to avoid Highway 6 south of Regina. It looks good for about 10 miles then it’s covered in 10 inches of snow and vehicles are stuck all over the place. There’s a semi stuck on Albert Street North heading to Highway 11. Another texter reported someone was stuck on the Highway 1 bypass by Balgonie.
Most schools are open, but some bus students might get a snow day Monday.
All buses are cancelled for Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools.
Outside the city, Prairie South School Division has cancelled all buses including school buses in Moose Jaw.
Prairie Valley School Division has not called a division-wide bus cancellation at this point but many routes are cancelled.
Bus drivers will contact families individually and the full list of cancellations is on the website.
Standing Buffalo School is cancelled for the day.
Flight cancellations, delays at Regina airport
Mother Nature’s wreaking havoc at the Regina International Airport (YQR).
Airport Authority President James Bogusz said the early flights flew out fine Monday morning, but there were a total of four domestic cancellations as a result of planes not arriving Sunday night.
He added almost every other flight has experienced some kind of delay since then.
“For example, one of the WestJet flights (Monday) morning was delayed almost two-and-a-half hours as a result of conditions here at the airport,” Bogusz noted.
Bogusz said the heavy, blowing snow is making it tough for pilots to get down the runway.
“The aircraft has to be able to see the runway at a certain distance. Despite our great lighting system, when that visibility is very low, sometimes the aircraft won’t even make an attempt to fly.”
Due to weather, Bogusz said it’s critical passengers arrive at least an hour-and-a-half early.
“It’s very, very important to give yourself some extra time — especially under these conditions,” he said.
Bogusz also encourages passengers to keep an eye on flight times — either on the YQR website or on their airline’s.