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The late-winter blast that blew through the Prairies in 1982

Knowlton Nash called it "a classic" western storm, but a lot of people living through it might have called it something else.

Storm brought snow, ice, rain and powerful winds to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

'A classic' winter storm strikes the West

41 years ago
Duration 1:24
It was mid-March, but it felt like mid-winter in Western Canada in 1982.

The National's Knowlton Nash called it "a classic" western storm, but a lot of people living through it might have called it something else.

It was a storm that struck in mid-March, plunging the Prairies back into mid-winter.

"It's got lots of snow and lots of ice and a lot of rain, but most of all, it's got wind," Nash said, introducing the March 12, 1982 report on the latest handout from Old Man Winter.

Soon viewers saw shots of snow-covered highways, cars, tractor-trailers and vans in ditches, as well as a viewing of Paul Workman's hair blowing all over the place, as he described what Regina had been hit with.

'Those famous prairie breezes were gusting'

reporter stands outside on windy day in winter
The pictures really told the story as Paul Workman told viewers on The National about the gusting winds of the late-winter storm that blew through the Prairies in mid-March of 1982. (The National/CBC Archives)

"As the storm moved eastward here to Saskatchewan, those famous prairie breezes were gusting up to 100 km/h, causing minor power failures and major driving problems," Workman said, noting the storm had closed Regina's airport as well as some of its roads.

His report gave a glimpse of what the police were seeing out on the roads — nothing, in some cases.

"The Mounties didn't know what it was like outside the city because they couldn't get there," said Workman.

Tow truck attends van rolled over on snowy highway
A combination of strong winds and icy road made driving treacherous for Winnipeg motorists during a late-winter storm in mid-March of 1982. (The National/CBC Archives)

To the east, Winnipeggers had seen freezing rain coat their own roads, which made the driving treacherous — especially when coupled with the strong winds pushing cars along that ice and off the road.

An orange Gremlin suffered front-end damage after colliding with the guardrail on a bridge. 

Out west in Alberta, the city of Edmonton was dealing with the fallout from the 23 centimetres of snow that had piled up.

"Well, I don't think we'll be forecasting any drought this spring," said one man with a grin on his face, as he shovelled a drift in front of a home before a CBC camera.

At the time Workman's report aired, the storm was still moving east and he said the message from meteorologists was: "Ontario, look out!"

snowy highway with cars in long line
The National showed viewers images of what the drive home in Edmonton had been like when a powerful storm was in the midst of dumping 23 centimetres of snow on the city in mid-March of 1982. (The National/CBC Archives)

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