Heavy snowfall, strong winds expected from weekend storm in South Sask.
Snowfall and blizzard warnings are in effect for southern Saskatchewan ahead of a clipper system arriving from the west coast this weekend.
The snowfall warning covers the towns of Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Regina, while the blizzard warning covers Weyburn, Estevan, Carlyle and Oxbow.
The system could drop between 10 and 20 inches of snow through the south from Friday evening through late Saturday afternoon. Most is expected in the southeast corner, where snowfall could exceed 25 cm.
“I think the heaviest snow will be in the night time, which is kind of good because [there are] Then there won’t be too many people on the roads,” said Terri Lang, meteorologist for alert at Environment Canada.
The system is expected to begin in the southwest around dinnertime on Friday, before moving east through Friday evening and Saturday.
Strong south-east winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour are likely to create blizzard conditions and reduce visibility on highways until the wind dies down Saturday morning.
The city of Regina prepares for a snowstorm
Tyler Bien, manager of the City of Regina’s seasonal road operations, told the media Friday that the city is taking this storm seriously.
“Ten centimeters of snow is nothing, right? and 70 [kilometres per hour] Winds along with blowing snow will cause some problems on the roads,” he said.
Bien said the city’s team is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week when there’s a storm, and this weekend’s cold spell will be no different.
He said the city will have about 50 pieces of equipment on the street at any given time.
Once it snows, the city will focus on keeping traffic flowing on major thoroughfares like the Ring Road and Lewvan Drive, Bien said.
When the snow stops, workers will move on to a systematic process, targeting main roads and then residential streets.
He urged local residents to drive carefully during the storm.
“If you must travel, plan your route, plan to stay off those fringes. Any area that is adjacent to an open area. Usually these tend to be worse when we get a severe storm like this,” he said.
In a statement, the City of Regina confirmed that its extreme weather committee met with community-based organizations supporting the city’s homeless before the storm.
“Recent discussions with this committee do not indicate an immediate need to reinstate the warming bus,” it said.
Effects still uncertain
The precise track of the storm system depends on a broad, intense anticyclone spanning northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The dry air in the anticyclone prevents snow from forming, so the system might struggle to gain steam as it rolls through our province, leaving the heavy snow for areas south of the international border.
But the forecast models have so far remained consistent and have predicted the highest accumulations for far southeastern Saskatchewan.
The low-pressure system responsible for this wintry blow formed from an atmospheric flow that meets the Pacific coast of the United States. Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains received more than 250 cm of snow earlier this week as a result of this system.
Lang said it’s not uncommon for Saskatchewan to get a snowstorm this time of year.
“We always get a few storms in March, in April, and indeed some of our heavy snowfalls occur in the spring,” said the federal meteorologist.
Good timing for dry fields
In its spring runoff forecast released Thursday, the provincial water safety agency says much of southern Saskatchewan entered the winter with little moisture.
The south-central and south-western regions received less snow than normal and allowed much of their snowpack to melt during the winter, so this storm will be welcome to farmers dealing with dry fields.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Drought Monitor, many of these regions are also experiencing moderate to severe drought beginning in late January.
After this system is over, much of the province will experience a less active weather pattern and a return to normal temperatures after a chilly start to March.