Many kilometres of Sask. highways closed over blowing snow
Blowing snow and blizzard-like conditions were making driving impossible for many people in Saskatchewan Thursday — with large sections of some major highways closed.
Early in the morning, every highway out of Moose Jaw was closed.
Hundreds of kilometres of Trans-Canada Highway from Regina to Gull Lake on the west side of the province were also closed.
The RCMP said overnight they had received more than 125 calls related to crashes, rollovers, or cars stuck in the ditch.
Around Saskatoon, highways to the west and the south were either closed or travel was not recommended. Rural school buses for students in the Catholic system were cancelled.
It was a similar situation around North Battleford, where winds gusted to more than 80 kilometres an hour at one point. Highways to the north and west were either closed or travel was not recommended.
In Regina, winds were gusting to around 60 km/h in the morning.
Police set up a blockage with multiple cruisers west of Regina to prevent drivers from accessing the closed highway. Some people had been spotted driving on the wrong side of the highway in an attempt to get to Moose Jaw.
Highways Ministry spokeswoman Kirsten Leatherdale said people must pay attention to the warnings to stay off the worst highways.
"You're going to get stranded out there," she said. "It's a dangerous situation."
High winds have been creating large snowdrifts around the province. Near Maidstone, on Highway 17, one snowdrift about 60 centimetres high covered the road for 100 metres.
Metre-high snowdrifts made walking along the sidewalks impossible on parts of Albert St., one of the city's main streets.
Out of Regina, travel was not recommended on a large section of Highway 11, the main route to Saskatoon.
Power was out in some small communities near Regina, including Grand Coulee and Pense. SaskPower crews were struggling with the weather as they tried to find out the source of the problem.
Conditions were changing from hour to hour, so people who are travelling are told to check the Highway Hotline.