Saskatchewan

Southeast Sask. told to stock up supplies ahead of 'significant' storm

Environment Canada says the spring blizzard, caused by a Colorado low tracking in from the United States, could be the worst in decades.

Environment Canada says spring blizzard could be the worst in decades

On Jan. 31, a blizzard disrupted travel near Martensville, north of Saskatoon. Environment Canada says spring blizzards pack even more punch with heavier snow. (Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways)

A major spring storm could bring southeastern Saskatchewan and a large swath of southern Manitoba to a halt this week, says Environment Canada.

The weather agency updated its storm watch Monday stating widespread snowfall amounts of 30-50 centimetres are expected, along with north winds gusting from 70-90 km/h, giving zero visibility at times.

Environment Canada meteorologist Kyle McAulay said in some areas with higher elevation, as much as 80 centimetres of snow could fall.

"This is going to be a very, very major, significant storm," McAulay said. 
A Colorado low weather system is on track to hit the province starting Tuesday night, when the snow is expected to begin, and move its way northward.

Environment Canada says people living in the areas under the storm watch should be gathering supplies, including medications, and prepare for possible extended power outages.

"I wouldn't expect to do anything during the day Wednesday. Try to get everything done, if you can, for Tuesday," he said.
The alerts advises people not to travel during the storm. McAulay cautioned anyone who absolutely has to drive, to pack emergency supplies, warm clothing and let people know where they are headed.

Conditions should begin to improve on Friday as the winds taper off and the heaviest snow moves east, "although the clean-up after this storm will likely last well into next week," Environment Canada says.
McAulay noted that the potential for this storm to cause major damage is based on the type of snow that falls during spring blizzards.

"We expect the snow to be pretty heavy and wet," he said, adding the snow is more compact with overall moisture. 

"If you get about 10 centimetres of this snow and you melt it down, you're going to have a lot of water leftover compared to what you would get in like say middle of January."

The weight of the snow can cause trees to fall, and even break power poles and lines. 

WATCH: How one woman helped her home community of Nekaneet First Nation during the aftermath of a major spring storm on April 5:

A spring storm last week knocked out power to a large part of southwestern Saskatchewan, some areas of which were still without power as of Monday morning. 

SaskPower said crews had a hard time navigating terrain and dealing with long stretches of downed lines. The company is expected to speak with CBC News Monday about its preparations for the upcoming storm in southeastern Saskatchewan.

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