Extreme weather is expected to hit Saskatchewan this week, with temperatures feeling as cold as -40 C to -50 C with windchill to last until Jan. 2.
"It is unusually cold — even for the Prairies," said David Baggaley, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. "To be this cold for this long, it's quite an event.
"A few places probably can see minus-50 windchills for Tuesday morning, which is quite extraordinarily cold," Baggaley said, adding even relatively light winds of about 15 kilometres per hour may feel "very biting."
He couldn't immediately confirm if any records were being broken.
An extreme-cold warning due to an arctic ridge of high pressure is in effect for most southern regions of the province, which Baggaley said could experience the coldest weather Monday night.
Flights delayed, cancelled
The weather caused air travel delays in Regina and Saskatoon. One flight leaving Regina Monday afternoon was cancelled and six were listed as delayed. At the Saskatoon airport, five departing flights were delayed.
A snowstorm on Sunday dumped close to 10 centimetres of the white stuff in Regina and another 12 in Saskatoon.
Baggaley said there might be some more light snow and that temperatures will be "well below" typical seasonal highs, which are normally about -10 C during the day and -19 C overnight.
Travel not advised
The Saskatchewan Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended due to reduced visibility and loose, drifting and swirling snow on the following highways:
Jct Hwy 1 to Jct Hwy 247
Jct Hwy 9 to Jct Hwy 47
Winter conditions were persisting for most other routes, and Baggaley said travelers should postpone trips to avoid possible frostbite and hypothermia.
"If you are on the road, ensure cell phones are charged up, have extra blankets and clothes and people are informed of your travel," Baggaley said.
Payton Veltkamp, who lives in Balcarres, about 92 km northeast of Regina, postponed her planned trip to visit her grandparents in Esterhazy — about 120-km away — after experiencing icy driving conditions on Sunday.
"It was terrible," Veltkamp said of that Sunday night drive between Regina and Balcarres, which took two hours instead of the usual one. "When oncoming traffic was passing, just the snow that came behind the vehicle made things so much worse."
Veltkamp, 24, said the "roads were caked with snow," and that it was hard to see.
"Passing through Fort Qu'Appelle, in the valley, there were maybe 10 or 12 cars in the line that we were in and going down the hill," she said. "I was very nervous that either I would slide into somebody, or someone would slide into someone else."
Snow event clean-up begins
The city of Saskatoon warned commuters to exercise caution as crews worked on the main lanes of Circle Drive with sanders Monday, applying de-icing material as required, according to a news release.
All priority street grading was expected to be done within 72 hours and city-maintained sidewalks, bridge walkways and pathways to be cleared within 48 hours, the release said.
In Regina, effective Monday morning, there was no parking allowed along the snow routes until 6 a.m. Tuesday. Snow route locations are marked by blue signs with a white snowflake.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pratyush Dayal is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon. He has previously written for the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, the Province and the Tyee. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from UBC and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Pratyush_Dayal_
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