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Wintery system sweeps Prairies

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

November 6, 2011 — Snow piled up in parts of the Prairies Sunday as a moisture-filled low swept through the region.

Day dawns on a wintery scene in Saskatoon
Day dawns on a wintery scene in Saskatoon

Snow began falling overnight in Saskatchewan, meaning people in the southern part of the province woke up to a wintery scene.

Four centimetres had accumulated in Regina by Sunday morning; Saskatoon and Kindersley each had two centimeters.

In addition to the snow, winds of 30 to 40 km/h caused some problems on the roads; Saskatchewan's Ministry of Transportation warned of poor visibility and slippery patches on the Trans-Canada highway from North Battleford to the Manitoba border. Officials urged drivers to avoid Highway 1 through Swift Current altogether due to blowing snow.

Snow was expected to continue falling in southeastern Saskatchewan through the day Sunday. Some places could see up to 15 cm by the time the system moves out of the region.

Taking the plow for a spin in Banff
Taking the plow for a spin in Banff

Parts of Alberta already felt winter's bite this week. A strong upper low from Idaho moved into the province Friday, bringing several cm of snow to Calgary, Edmonton and other cities.

Though most areas saw less than 5 cm, that was enough to cause problems for drivers unused to slippery roads.

In Calgary, traffic was snarled on several different roadways as drivers navigated icy surfaces for the first time since last spring. Police had responded to more than 300 accidents -- dozens involving injuries -- by Saturday.

Temperatures also dipped in the wake of the storm. Edmonton hit -16C overnight Saturday, and despite sunny skies, daybreak brought little relief from the chill.

That's quite the contrast from this time last year, when several Prairie communities saw temperatures near 20C.

Motorists are urged to winterize their vehicle and be prepared for reduced visibility and blowing snow.

With files from Hilary Hagerman

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