Winter wonderland

A city employee clears a path leading to Memorial Square near City Hall on Monday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert residents can look forward to a bit of a reprieve following large snowfall amounts over the weekend.

According to Environment Canada, 13.4 cm of snow fell on March 3-4, but the skies are expected to clear in the near future.

“We’re out of the woods, at least for the short-term, meaning the next week or so,” Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said. “Our crystal ball usually goes around to about 10 days where we can look with some amount of confidence, and it looks like this is the end of the storm.”

Lang said Prince Albert experienced a “double whammy” of back-to-back lows which helped drive snowy conditions over the weekend. The Colorado low, which arrived Sunday evening and continued on into Monday, did most of the damage. Lang said those lows are perfectly normal, and as they leave, milder temperatures should take over. She just hopes it’s not too much too soon.

“We have a lot of snow on the ground and we don’t want rapid melting,” Lang said. “It looks like we’ll enjoy at least a couple of mild days, and get that snow melt started.”

Mild weather will come as welcome news to City of Prince Albert snow removal crews who were out clearing roads by 4 a.m. on Monday.

Brent Kennedy, the city’s roadways manager, said they can typically finish clearing the main arteries in about 16 hours, but clearing the rest of the city can take around three weeks.

The 12-person city crew was augmented by two contractor graders, and by Monday afternoon all of the city’s snow removal equipment was being put to use.

Crews spent most of Monday fighting not only the weather, but also Prince Albert drivers, some of who failed to move their vehicles after the city declared a snow route parking ban.

“For some reason, people just don’t tend to get the message,” Kennedy said. “It makes our job a lot easier when the vehicles are moved.”

Kennedy added that they didn’t want to ticket or tow people, but on Monday they were left with no choice. Sherman Drive, along with the entire length of 28th Street, caused the most problems.

“People just don’t seem to want to move,” he said.

The goal on Tuesday is to get snow removal crews working on some of Prince Albert’s back lanes, many of which were impenetrable the day before.

Drivers weren’t the only people affected by the weekend snowfall. Poor driving conditions caused the Jim Cuddy concert at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre to be postponed until March 13.

Parkland Ambulance responded to 87 incidents over the weekend, but only one serious collision that may have been influenced by the weather. Late Saturday night, three people were taken to hospital with injuries after colliding with some wildlife near Shellbrook. All three were in stable condition.

According to the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline, all highways out of Prince Albert were open as of press time.

The single day record for the largest snowfall in Prince Albert was set on March 21, 1953, when 29 cm of snow fell.

@kerr_jas •