Southeast Sask. begins digging out after blizzard blankets area
Areas received 20 to 40 cm of snow this week
The streets of Moosomin, Sask., were ringing with the sound of snow blowers on Thursday as residents began digging themselves out after a massive blizzard.
Moosomin is about 210 kilometres southeast of Regina. Environment Canada said the storm dropped 20 to 40 centimetres of snow on the southeast area of Saskatchewan, with potentially more in the far southeast, including Carlyle and Redvers.
Larry Tomlinson, mayor of Moosomin, was out bright and early with his snowblower clearing his sidewalk.
"When I came out the back door this morning, it was about three feet high," said the mayor.
"There's a tremendous amount of work to do. We've got every machine we have going and we'll do what we can to try to get it cleaned up."
Tomlinson said road crews were busy working on clearing main arteries, including the town's main street and the space in front of its hospital.
Despite the massive amount of snow, an emergency centre in a local church wasn't used. In fact, Moosomin town council held a regularly-scheduled council meeting on Wednesday night as the storm raged outside.
"Well, we had to do it, because if we didn't, then people don't get paid," said Tomlinson.
"Everything has to be approved by council. So we were kind of forced to have it."
Meanwhile, a long-haul trucker forced to stay overnight in the town said he's not planning to get back on the road until conditions improve.
"You don't control the weather," said Richard Mainville, who was travelling from Alberta to Quebec for a funeral ceremony.
As of noon CST Thursday, travel was not recommended in many areas of the southeast, including Highway 1 from Grenfell to the Manitoba border. Many highways in Manitoba remain closed, including the Trans-Canada.
"As soon as it reopens, we'll go and we'll drive, and then we'll get there," Mainville said.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang, the blizzard has now officially passed through the area.
While gusty winds and sleet are expected in the southeast on Thursday, the bulk of the storm is over.
"We're sort of in the back part of the storm now," she said.
"People can expect some blowing snow out on the highways today, but for the most part it's pretty much done."
Environment Canada relies on volunteer-driven reports to calculate snowfall. Lang said Estevan had reported 30 to 40 centimetres of snow, with other areas reporting 10 to 20 centimetres.
She said areas in the far southeast that were likely the hardest hardest [Oxbow, Carlyle] had not sent in a snowfall report. Anyone who wished to do so could send out a tweet on their snowfall results using #skstorm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lang said there is another weather system that could drop another five to eight centimetres of snow heading to regions along the U.S. border on Sunday.
With files from Daniella Ponticelli