Freezing rain overnight made streets in Regina and highways around the city more fit for a game of hockey than for driving on.
As sanding trucks headed out on highways and certain main streets, conditions began to improve by mid-day, but many roads were still covered in a treacherous layer of black ice, wreaking havoc for drivers.
— Andrew Shepherd (@Andrew5hepherd) November 28, 2018
Regina police responded to 29 crashes over a 12 hour period between midnight and noon. Fortunately, only five of those crashes left people with minor injuries while the rest just caused damage to vehicles and property.
Freezing rain warnings lifted
According to Environment Canada Meteorologist Mark Melsness, the freezing rain began around midnight Wednesday morning but the advisories were lifted just before 6 a.m.
“It left behind a lot of icy roads in the Regina area and some closed highways as well so kind of a mess out there,” Melsness said.
He said about one to two millimetres fell in the Regina area.
He said freezing rain occurs when the snow — which all precipitation starts out as — falls and then hits a layer of warm air above the surface which turns into rain before freezing again when it hits the ground.
Melsness said there isn’t much more precipitation expected in Regina over the next few days.
Fog descended parts of south central Saskatchewan later in the day Wednesday, causing poor visibilty. Environment Canada issued a fog advisory before noon for Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Rosetown.
Freezing rain leads to multiple collisions, travel advisories and highway closures
The freezing rain led to the closure of some of the highways around Regina.
The Highway 1 west of Regina was closed to Belle Plaine for several hours. Travel was not recommended on Highway 1 heading east out of Regina and was closed from Balgonie to the Highway 35 junction for most of the morning.
A few people in the area said there were at least six semis in the ditch of Highway 1 around Maclean and traffic had to be re-routed through the town.
Travel was also not recommended on highways surrounding Moose Jaw and Weyburn early in the morning.
RCMP members were busy Wednesday morning, responding to multiple reports of vehicles leaving the roadways.
White Butte RCMP closed Highway 1 near Belle Plaine due to a semi rollover.
Police also said another semi rolled into the median near Pense, closing down the eastbound lanes.
Police said there are reports other traffic have gotten stuck or collided while stopping for these collisions.
Indian Head RCMP have also reported they have responded to multiple vehicles leaving the roads.
Conditions are changing quickly so check the Highway Hotline for updates throughout the day.
City crews sanding streets
In Regina, the city had crews out through the night sanding the busiest streets. By early morning, all 10 of its sanders were out, helping to improve conditions on category 1, 2 and 3 roads.
In an email, the city said these crews continue to cycle through these areas Wednesday afternoon and into the night. The city expects the weather to improve on Thursday but said it will monitor the situation.
If you have slippery sidewalks, free dry sand is available at nine sandboxes located across the city.
- Al Ritchie Arena
- Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre
- Glencairn Neighbourhood Centre
- Jack Hamilton Arena
- Mâmawêyatitân centre
- Murray Balfour Arena
- Northgate Mall
- Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre
- South Leisure Centre
Residents are encouraged to take only what they need in a small pail. In an average season, the city goes through 40 tonnes of sand.
Northeast of Regina was also dealing with snow falling Wednesday morning.