Severe weather and falling trees caused rolling blackouts in parts of northwest Saskatchewan over the weekend.
Tweets from SaskPower, starting before noon Sunday, indicated crews were dispatched to several towns and First Nations communities after they were hit with power outages.
As of Monday morning, SaskPower spokesman Jonathan Tremblay said he didn’t have exact numbers for people affected by the outages, but added the Meadow Lake area was hit hard.
“About seven lines are down that we are trying to address at the same time,” he said.
Tremblay noted Green Lake, Pierceland, Loon Lake and surrounding First Nations were also severely impacted.
“The problem is we’re not repairing as fast as the snow is tearing down trees that are falling onto our lines,” he said.
“We have fixed a lot of outages, but customers may not have seen simply because there are new ones created – especially overnight, with the six to eight inches of wet snow we got.”
Tremblay noted workers were only able to repair the lines after sunrise Sunday for both safety and logistical reasons.
“We need helicopters, for example, to patrol where the trees have fallen on lines.”
The province’s outage centre received around 10,000 calls within a 24-hour period starting Sunday morning.
SaskPower is working with Environment Canada to track the wet snow front heading east.
Officials warn people in La Ronge to prepare as the storm is expected to impact their area Monday afternoon or Tuesday.
Snowfall warnings issued
Environment Canada issued snowfall warnings for a large stretch of northern Saskatchewan Monday morning.
It called for snowfall amounts between 10-15 centimetres, or four to six inches.
The weather agency said a low-pressure system is producing heavy snow as it tracks into central Manitoba.
As of Monday morning, Buffalo Narrows had received more than 15 cm, or six inches, of snow. An additional five to 10 cm, up to four inches, is expected to fall during the day before tapering off overnight.
People are warned to prepare for quick-changing travel conditions, with visibility being reduced at times.