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Wintery system sweeps Prairies


Alexandra Pope, staff writer
November 7, 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 Sunday.

15 cm accumulated in Regina; Pelly saw 25 cm pile up and Saskatoon had 5 cm.

In addition to the snow, winds of 30 to 40 km/h caused some problems on the roads. Regina area RCMP had over 70 collisions reported on highways throughout the day.

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.

The poor conditions could make it difficult for voters in Saskatchewan to get to polling stations for Monday's provincial election. Political observers say that bad weather can actually swing voter turnout from five to ten percent.

Only a couple of centimetres piled up in the city of Winnipeg, but that was enough to keep emergency crews busy dealing with fender benders through the early morning hours Monday.

The heaviest snow hit the west central part of the province, close to the Saskatchewan border. 27 cm was reported in Mafeking while Grand Rapids saw 14 cm.

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

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

Though most areas saw less than 5 cm, that was enough to cause problems for drivers on 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 Andrea Stockton

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