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Winter-like storm brings major snowfall to Prairie provinces


Staff writers

November 11, 2012 — A series of low pressure systems over the Prairie provinces over the last few days have brought snow and winter-like conditions across the region.

Alberta was the first of the Prairies to see the worst of the storm. Courtesy: Angela Steeves.
Alberta was the first of the Prairies to see the worst of the storm. Courtesy: Angela Steeves.

The storm system that blanketed parts of Alberta with up to 30 cm of snow earlier this week dumped similar amounts on Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and is bringing freezing rain to northwestern Ontario.

As Sunday morning dawned in Saskatchewan, Regina had about 30 cm, enough to make life difficult for drivers, while Saskatoon was at a more modest, but still significant, 17 cm. At the worst of the storm on Saturday, the province's highways department said 300 snow plows were ready to go in 85 locations.

In Manitoba, Winnipeggers were digging out after 24 cm fell on that city, with a little more likely as the storm died down on its way east.

Manitoba's highways department closed Highway 1W from Headingly to Brandon Saturday night, reopening late Sunday morning, due to poor driving conditions, and much of the the province's southern highways were listed as partially or fully covered by the early morning.

And in northwestern Ontario, freezing rain warnings were widespread across much of the province a little inland from the great lakes, expected to switch to rain later in the day.

Even though the system had mostly moved on from Alberta by Saturday morning, up to 30 cm had fallen on some areas. Edmonton saw a little more than 30 cm, Calgary had 22 cm, and the system continued to move east, with little sign of slowing down.

People in Winnipeg were waking up Sunday to find more than 20 cm of snow. Courtesy: Darnell Dela Cruz
People in Winnipeg were waking up Sunday to find more than 20 cm of snow. Courtesy: Darnell Dela Cruz

That's a lot of plowing, and to make it easier for city crews to clear it all away, Edmonton issued its first seasonal parking ban on Friday, with Calgary set to follow suit at 1 p.m. local time Sunday.

The City of Edmonton had already issued 247 tickets by day's end Saturday. 

“Having those streets clear so early on in the plowing process means we will be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently, and hopefully get the ban lifted sooner than we had anticipated," said the city's director of roadway maintenance, Bob Dunford. 

In addition to the snow and gusty winds, colder air and wind chills near -25 will leave Prairie residents bundling up for the weekend. 

The storms came on the weekend when Canadians mark Remembrance Day.

If you're heading to one of today's ceremonies, be sure to check your Local Forecast. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV for the latest updates on these wintery storms.

With files from The Canadian Press

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