Sask. residents make their way home as snowstorm moves out of province

Students, athletes had to spend night in Lloydminster

Dozens of Saskatoon residents are trying to make their way home, after a severe winter storm forced them to spend Sunday night in the border-city of Lloydminster.

Tyler Rittinger is one of them.

Rittinger was chaperoning a ski trip to Jasper for students who attend Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon. He said their bus stopped in Lloydminster Sunday evening and their hotel was packed with stranded youth.

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"There's a local Saskatoon track team here. There's a pom and cheer team here from Marion Graham, and there's 46 of these Aden Bowman High School kids."

Rittinger said the students had fun visiting and playing cards. He said their bus driver, hotel staff and others have been extremely helpful, accommodating their changing schedules.

The snow that buried much of Saskatchewan in snow, shut down schools and closed roads is expected to taper off as it moves east on Monday.

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Snowstorm hits province hard

The storm sent upwards from Montana dropped 30 to 40 plus centimetres of snow in Saskatoon, 35 centimetres in Eatonia, 33 centimetres in Wilkie, 13 centimetres in Meadow Lake and 11 centimetres in Prince Albert, according Environment and Climate Change meteorologist Eric Dykes

"It's long lasting, It had a wide-ranging amount of effects, especially with the rural conditions in the province and as far as we can tell dropped a lot of snow in various places thus far through the weekend," Dykes said, adding it was Saskatchewan's most notable storm this winter.

Regina received around 15 centimetres of snow,according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

The worst of the snowstorm is behind Saskatchewan, but there are still snowfall warnings through the Churchill region in northern Saskatchewan which includes Buffalo Narrows, La Ronge, Pelican Narrows as another 10 centimetres of snow is possible there on Monday, Dykes said.

Saskatoon residents/Jenna Leith/CBC

Two Saskatoon residents clearing snow from their properties after the winter storm. (Jenna Leith/CBC)

"The good news is that we're going to see improvements across the board as we go through the day today as the low pressure system that's associated with all this snow and winds continues to move to the northeast and head up towards northern Ontario," Dykes said.

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Dykes said it's important that Saskatchewan residents take precautions when shoveling.

"Take your time and don't stress about having to do everything in one swoop," Dykes said.

Dykes added that people in areas that saw heavy snowfall should stay off the roads if they can. The Saskatchewan Highway Hotline shows several closed roads highways in the province and many routes in the provinces where travel is not recommended or winter conditions exist.

Saskatchewan snow/Dan Zakreski/CBC

Saskatoon received 30 to 40 plus centimetres of snow over the weekend according to Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Eric Dykes. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Cities responding to snow

Saskatoon activated its Roadways Emergency Response Plan Sunday. It also implemented its Extreme Cold Weather Emergency Plan, which opens up emergency overnight shelters and warm-up locations, among other resources, for people who need them.

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In Regina, the city declared its snow routes in effect, meaning no on-street parking on those marked routes for 24 hours beginning Monday at 6 a.m. CST.

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Battlefords Transit also posted to social media that services would not be running on Monday.

While the snowfall is slowing, the snow isn't expected to melt quickly.

"We're going to be looking at below seasonal temperatures for most of the week, but next weekend looks like it will be back around the freezing mark and if not a few degrees above for that part of the weekend there, " Dykes said.

The snow has prompted Saskatoon's Catholic and public school divisions to cancel high school classes. Elementary students were already out of school because of a professional development day for teachers.

Snow covers vehicles in a parking lot in Saskatoon. Submitted by Benjamin Semynov via CBC

Snow covers vehicles in a parking lot in Saskatoon. (Submitted by Benjamin Semynov)

Rotating teacher strikes are expected in some school divisions across Saskatchewan as part of the stalled contract negotiations between teachers and the province, but those do not include Saskatoon.

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There is no school in either public or Catholics school divisions in Regina on Monday because of rotating teacher strikes.

Airport delays and cancellations

Both Regina and Saskatoon were showing a string of flight cancellations and delays at their airports on Sunday.

Regina Airport Authority CEO James Bogusz said the weather has been a challenge.

"So far, we have seen about 10 departures cancel today but the weather is not over yet," he said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

The Saskatoon International Airport said in an emailed statement that it had brought in additional crews and runway conditions were good both Saturday and Sunday.

"That said, weather conditions have continued to impact flights, primarily due to poor visibility and wind conditions … as of Sunday morning, the airport is aware of approximately 30 flights cancelled this weekend due to the snowstorm."

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Thumbnail courtesy of Jason Warick/CBC.

The story was originally written and published for CBC News. It contains files from Will McLernon and Dayne Patterson.