Many Moose Jaw residents continue to dig themselves out on Monday morning, after a winter weather system barreled through the region over the weekend, bringing with it lots of snow and strong winds.
This was caused by a low-pressure system that made its way up from the United States into southern Saskatchewan.
Road conditions were treacherous, tons of snow-covered streets within the city, and large drifts were formed, creating a lot of work on Saturday and maybe even Sunday morning.
Though Moose Jaw didn’t get as much snow as other places in southern Saskatchewan, quite a bit fell.
“At the airport and the automatic weather system, which will always under record snowfall amounts in windy conditions,” says Environment Canada Meteorologist, Terri Lang. “The report that we can guestimate is about 6 centimetres (about half the length of the long edge of a credit card). It’s probably higher than that but we have no way of knowing that just because of the winds. You can see through the city that some places are clean, and others have massive drifts.”
“Cities tend to be snow traps, so the snow gets trapped and settles down, so it looks like there is more than what actually fell,” adds Lang.
Speaking of wind, the highest wind speed that was recorded in Moose Jaw over the weekend was 67 km/h.
The southeast areas of the province such as Weyburn and Estevan and closer to the Manitoba border were hit harder than Moose Jaw.
Langs notes that those areas got about 30 cm and wind gusts over 80 km/h.
In addition, the southwest corner of the province was hit hard as well by the weather system.
“Over 20 cm for sure there in the southwest. The winds weren’t as high as the southeast but certainly reports of massive drifts in the southwest as well.”
The storm system also caused very poor driving conditions starting on Friday night. The strong wind gusts created near-zero visibility conditions on area highways.
On Friday, travel was not recommended on highways in all directions of Moose Jaw. Also, highway closures were seen all across the southeast as the storm increased.
Moving into Saturday, the Trans-Canada Highway east of Moose Jaw was closed to just east of Regina.
“Ring Road around Regina was closed because of blowing snow and there were reports of a massive accident involving some semi-trailers. It was really tricky driving conditions, but it was well forecasted and hopefully, people paid attention to the warnings.”
The question now remains, was that the last major blast of winter?
“As we move into the latter half of March and into April, we know that those are the times we get our snowstorms at that time and in the fall because we are starting to get warmer temperatures now. Warmer temperatures can hold more moisture. People should not be surprised if we get more snow.”
Lang explains that milder temperatures are at least forecasted for this week, but not 100 per cent certain if they are going to stay.
“It looks like there is another Montana Low moving through perhaps near the end of the week so we will see if the south gets clipped by that again.”
Monday is expected to have a high of –3 C, +2 C on Tuesday, and then a high of –5 C on Wednesday.