Strong winds with gusts reaching 107 km/h, have caused severe damage in Saskatoon while many highways have become treacherous due to poor visibility and ice.

On Wednesday morning just outside of Saskatoon, on Highway 5 and Highway 41, a semi-trailer was seen blown over onto its side. It was the first of many reports of highway disruptions due to wind and ice.

The strong winds combined with milder temperatures have made highway travel dicey in several parts of the province.

On Wednesday evening, RCMP said people should avoid Highway 3, between Tisdale and Star City due to poor visibility and icy roads. There were several vehicles in the ditch, including a semi, as of 6 p.m.

Also, Swift Current rural RCMP said early Wednesday evening that Highway 4 North of Swift Current had been closed down. Two semi trailers are blocking the road. It will likely be closed until about 1 a.m. Thursday or so.

The Highway Hotline issued an advisory for roads around Leader and Tisdale as well, noting reduced visibility due to blowing snow and icy and slippery sections.

Around 9:30 p.m., RCMP from Broadview, east of Regina, said the Trans-Canada Highway in their area was in very poor condition due to extreme winds, blowing snow and an icy road surface. Travel was not recommended on Highway 1 between Broadview and Whitewood. In some spots, RCMP said, visibility was down to zero.

Power disruptions in Saskatoon

In Saskatoon, many people were without power for part of the day Wednesday and some traffic signals were also down.

Around 2 p.m. CST firefighters were called to a downtown office building after a 7th floor window was blown out. An area around 410 - 22nd Street East was blocked off and would remain so until winds died down.

At the time, the fire department said the sustained wind speed was 70 km/h with gusts to 107 km/h.

City crews have also been dealing with downed trees, while residents have been tending to loss of roof shingles.

Wind warnings

Earlier in the day, Environment Canada issued a wind warning for Saskatoon and throughout much of southern and central Saskatchewan, with gusts expected to hit 100 kilometres per hour in some areas.

The warnings were followed by advisories from the Highway Hotline that some rural highways were experiencing zero visibility due to blowing snow. Areas around Swift Current were especially affected.

SaskPower also had crews actively dealing with power outages linked to the windy weather.  The hardest hit areas were northwest of North Battleford and south of Prince Albert.

The company was reminding customers to contact them if their power goes out.

Beware of hazards

The Saskatoon Fire Department said the number of emergency calls they received increased as wind speeds picked up.

They were also advising people to be mindful of potential hazards caused by the powerful winds, such as downed trees and power lines, and damaged roofs.

Students stay indoors

Elementary school students at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools stayed inside over the lunch hour if they didn't have parent permission. High winds and reports of blowing debris was the reason students were kept inside. 


Check out the Saskatoon Morning live chat.