From snow storms to harrowing hail – Saskatchewan gets its fair share of wild weather.
But when an earthquake registered near Yorkton in early September, people took notice.
The news quickly made the rounds on social media, and ended up being the most read story on ckom.com.
Tragedy marks the next four stories on the list. From a drunk driver who took the lives of a Saskatoon family to the devastating outcome of an amber alert that stopped a community in its tracks.
These are the top five online stories for 2016, as read by you.
Earthquake hits southeastern Sask.
People were shaken awake – and some miners stuck underground – when an earthquake hit southeast Saskatchewan in the early morning on Sept. 5.
“It was recorded at 3.8 magnitude, which isn’t considered big,” seismologist Dr. Honn Kaw told 650 CKOM at the time.
SaskPower reported a widespread outage in the area that impacted Moosomin, Rocanville, Whitewood, Esterhazy, Stockholm and Wapella.
The outage caused problems for the PotashCorp mine near Rocanville – where 40 workers were stuck underground because there wasn’t enough backup power to run the hoists.
Family of four killed by drunk driver
The tragic deaths of the Van de Vorst family at the hands of a drunk driver made national headlines and sparked outcry for stricter penalties in Saskatchewan.
Parents Jordan and Chandra Van de Vorst and their two children — two-year-old Miguire and five-year-old Kamryn – died when an SUV trying to cross the highway from Wanuskewin Road hit their car on Jan. 3.
The next day, RCMP charged 49-year-old Catherine McKay with four counts of impaired driving causing death.
At the sentencing, McKay broke down in tears and said she has thought about the Van de Vorst family every day since the crash.
“‘’Sorry’ is a word that is overused. It’s often misused. It can’t begin to express the sorrow in my heart,” she said.
The fatal shooting of Colten Boushie
The shooting death of a First Nations man on a Saskatchewan farm dominated national news in 2016.
On Aug. 9, 22-year-old Colten Boushie was shot and killed on a ranch owned by Gerald Stanley.
Three days later, Stanley was charged with second-degree murder in Boushie’s death.
Hundreds of people rallied outside Stanley’s first two court appearances, with groups showing support for the Boushie family at courthouses in Saskatoon and Regina.
Stanley was released on bail on Aug. 19.
Witnesses who were with Boushie told media they went to the property to get help with a flat tire.
In October, another version of events emerged. It came to light after the Globe and Mail published a document police filed with a judge to get a warrant to search the Stanley property following Boushie’s death.
Fatal crash on Circle Drive brings city to a crawl
Traffic came to a standstill on a Wednesday afternoon in September after a crash on Circle Drive claimed the life of a 70-year-old man.
The deadly collision happened around 1:30 p.m. on Sept.7 in the southbound lane between Attridge Drive and 108th Street.
According to police, a 17-year-old boy was driving north on Circle Drive when his vehicle hit a slow-moving piece of construction equipment.
The car then crossed the median and crashed into a southbound vehicle driven by a 70-year-old man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
In the days following, the teen’s mother spoke out about what happened in the hours before the crash.
The boy had been in court on unrelated breaches, when the hearing was called off because he was noticeably high on drugs. The teen was simply sent home.
“I wanted him arrested … I kept saying, ‘I’m scared he’s going to kill someone or himself,” the boy’s mother told 650 CKOM.
A frantic search for a seven-year-old girl ended in tragedy when little Nia Eastman was found dead at a home in Choiceland, Saskatchewan.
An Amber Alert was issued for Nia on Nov. 10 after her father, Adam Jay Eastman, picked her up from school the day before – but never dropped the girl at her mother’s house that night.
Police ruled Adam Eastman killed Nia, before taking his own life.
“This was not the outcome all of us were hoping for and our thoughts are with the family and communities,” RCMP Insp. Jennifer Ebert told media, holding back tears.
Hundreds of people gathered in Choiceland a week after the deaths to remember Nia as a happy girl who enjoyed playing in puddles and wearing mismatched socks.
Daniella Ponticelli is the senior web editor for 650 CKOM and 980 CJME.