Highways hammered by snow, school buses cancelled in Sask. communities

As Saskatchewan digs out from a weekend of heavy snow, travel is not recommended on many highways and roads.

Winter storm dumped more than 10 centimetres on many areas

The whirr of snow-clearing machines can be heard on the streets of Regina after about 20 centimetres of snow fell on the city. (Craig Edwards/CBC News)

As Saskatchewan digs out from a weekend of heavy snow, travel is not recommended on many highways and roads.

According to Environment Canada meteorologist, Terri Lang,  about 20 centimetres of snow fell in Regina. Saskatoon and Prince Albert received about 10 to 13 cm of snow.

Indian Head to Wynyard and areas near the Manitoba border received the most snow, as 26 to 28 cm of snow was dumped on those communities this weekend.

"Snow fell pretty much everywhere," said Lang. 

The snow is expected to continue to fall throughout the day Monday but will taper off tonight. There may be light snow on Tuesday morning. Lang advised people to keep an eye on the Highway Hotline. 

"When it says 'travel not recommended', don't go," said Lang.

The snow in Regina is expected to continue to fall throughout the day Monday but will taper off tonight.

There will be up to 300 snow plows on the roads at any given time, but the efforts are not equal on all highways, according to the province. 

Roads like Highway 1, 7, 10, 11, 16, and 39 that get more than 1,500 travellers per day are given priority, while secondary highways that receive fewer travellers are typically plowed within 12 hours. 

Even if snow plows have not caught up on all highways before more snow hits, they will be back to priority routes to clear them first. The province said wind — not snow — posed the biggest challenge for snow plows out on the highways.

As of 6:40 a.m. CST, Saskatoon's airport delayed two flights and cancelled two others. In Regina, there have been three cancellations and one delay.

Arrive early

James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, advised people who are flying out of the city to keep an eye on the flight information. 

He also emphasized travellers should arrive at least 90 minutes earlier than they normally would. As snow is expected to fall throughout the day, there may be more delays or cancellations. 

Snow crews are shovelling runways around the clock but that does little for pilots if they can't see very well.

"When that visibility comes down, when that almost fog-like snow comes down, it's very difficult for planes to land and if they can't arrive here in Regina, they obviously can't depart," Bogusz said.

In Moose Jaw, city buses are not running and not expected to be operational until Tuesday morning.

School buses cancelled

School bus service has been cancelled in many communities, including Regina, because of all the snow. Schools will remain open.

City crews were busy plowing in the predawn hours, but many side streets remained clogged with snow.

Here is a partial list of school divisions where school buses have been cancelled:

  • Regina Public Schools has cancelled all bus services but classes will go on as planned.
  • All Regina Catholic Schools buses have been cancelled as well. Classes remain open.
  • All wheel chair buses as well as Warman to Martensville immersion buses are cancelled as well as the Route 688 and 689 rural routes.
  • All Vonda routes are cancelled today.
  • The Good Spirit School Division has cancelled all bus routes in Preeceville and Invermay.
  • South East Cornerstone Public School Division (in the Weyburn area) have called the buses for the Ogema, Pangman, Yellow Grass, Midale and Weyburn Rural routes.
  • The Prairie Valley School Division cancelled numerous routes.
  • The Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division, which covers Prince Albert and area, has also cancelled several bus routes.

French school divisions

All schools are still open but there is no transportation for:

  • Both elementary and high schools de École Monseigneur de Laval de Regina 
  • École Ducharme de Moose Jaw
  • École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus de Zenon Park
  • École Providence de Vonda

Transportation is running in urban zones for: 

  • École Valois de Prince Albert
  • École Canadienne-Française de Saskatoon 

With files from Chelsea Laskowski