Saskatoon

City of Saskatoon bracing for potentially record-breaking winter storm this weekend

Saskatoon officials are preparing for the possibility of a record-breaking winter storm this weekend.

Storm expected to hit in two waves, leave 30 cm of snow or more: meteorologist

The City of Saskatoon announced a plan to tackle a severe winter storm forecasted to hit the city over the weekend. (Alicia Bridges/CBC)

Saskatoon officials are preparing for the possibility of a record-breaking winter storm this weekend.

Meteorologist Terri Lang said the storm is expected to hit Saskatoon in two waves. 

"The first wave of snow is expected to come through on Saturday, starting through the morning and continuing through most of the day," she said, adding five to 10 centimetres is expected to fall.

"But it's Sunday when the heavier snow is forecast to move in and this will cover a very large area of southern Saskatchewan."

Heavier snow is expected to the east and south of Saskatoon, she said.

She estimated that by the time the dust — or snow — settles, 20 to 30 centimetres would be on the ground in Saskatoon.

If the weather models shift to the north or west, she said the city could be in for even lot more snow than that.

On top of that, Lang said winds could gust up to 70 kilometres per hour, which could create reduced visibility in and around Saskatoon and the surrounding highways.

'Plan accordingly'

Emergency management organization director Pamela Goulden-McLeod said the storm has the potential to interfere with people's ability to navigate Saskatoon this weekend. 

"We need to all prepare for the possibility that we might need to stay home for a few days and plan accordingly," she said in a city news release. 

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Goulden-McLeod said a Level 1 alert was issued internally and externally to "critical infrastructure partners," and the cold weather strategy partnership was activated.

The city also warned about possible power outages due to heavy snow interfering with power lines.

"Saskatoon Light and Power staff are ready to respond as needed," the city news release said.

Goulden-McLeod encouraged people to ensure they had enough food, water and medical supplies to last three days, if needed.

She said city snow crews are on standby and prepared to start clearing and de-icing when needed.

When the snow falls, efforts will be focused on the busiest streets and access to emergency services, the news release said.

It said 15 graders, 10 plows with sanders, four underbelly plows, 20 sanders, 11 sidewalk plows along with loaders, dozers and snow-blowers will be deployed. Additional contractors would be brought in if necessary. 

The city asked residents to watch for blue and amber lights and give crews a safe amount of room when passing on roadways.

Saskatoon Transit will do what it can to maintain schedules, but riders should expect delays while crews work to clear streets, the city said.

"Transit service alerts, real-time bus locations, and arrivals are available on third party apps like Transit and Google Transit on desktop," the news release said. 

"Access Transit may be affected by heavy snow on residential streets."

Monday is election day in Saskatoon. Polls are set to open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST. 

Voters are encouraged to take safety precautions and plan for extra time to go to and from voting stations on Monday.

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