Prairies digging out after another blast of winter
Published Monday, March 4, 2013 9:54PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 4, 2013 10:45PM EST
Parts of southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan were under a blanket of snow Monday evening after a winter storm stretching from North Dakota wreaked havoc along the Prairies.
By mid-afternoon, the Alberta clipper that hit Calgary Sunday morning had brought 15 to 25 centimetres to areas southwest and west of Winnipeg, with another four to eight centimetres of snowfall expected to fall tonight in southern Manitoba.
The wintry weather, which included wind gusts to 50 km/h caused poor road visibility and slippery road conditions that sent some drivers skidding into ditches. Rural schools were closed, and by Monday night, hundreds of accident had been reported.
Though Winnipeg was spared the brunt of the storm’s force, with 10 centimetres of total snowfall predicted by end of day Monday, many residents had to contend with power outages.
Manitoba Hydro said thousands of customers in Winnipeg were left without power for part the day after a hydro pole caught fire, causing downed power lines. The fire knocked out power to about 20 homes and businesses, and left 5,500 others in the cold.
Other areas of southeastern Manitoba, such as Steinbach, Pinawa and Beausejour received only a trace of snow.
Meanwhile, a winter storm warning remained in effect Monday in southeastern Saskatchewan after freezing rain and snow pummeled the province starting Sunday night. The conditions ground travel to a halt in some areas. Warnings on several highways indicated conditions remained poor Monday, while some highways remained closed to traffic .
Regina RCMP Cpl. Rob King told CTV News it was one of the worst storms to hit the area so far this year.
“When road conditions and visibility is that treacherous and you have blowing snow and the ice is like a curling rink it’s simply dangerous to be out and you’re best to stay home,” he said.
Out of the storm came some acts of kindness.
In Morse, Sask., a bus carrying students from Yorkton slid into a ditch Sunday, leaving the youth stranded overnight. The small town rallied around the students, providing shelter, bedding and hot breakfast Monday morning, Yorkton school principal Mike Haczkewicz told CTV News.
Conditions prevented the students from returning to Yorkton on Monday, but Haczkewicz said they were keeping busy.
“Helped shovel the driveways after the storm so (it’s) their way of paying it forward and saying thank you to the community,” he said.
Late winter storms aren’t unusual, said CTV meteorologist David Spence, but this one was made more powerful by high winds.
Though spring is around the corner, Spence said people on the prairies should prepare for more winter weather.
“It’s not time to take the winter tires off, it’s not time to put the snow shovel away, there’s a good chance more is coming,” he said.
The current storm system is expected to taper off Tuesday morning, before travelling south of the border as it meets up with another storm system.
With reports from CTV Winnipeg’s Carolyn Barghout and CTV Regina’s Kelsey Chadwick