People in the Canadian prairies can blame a hurricane sweeping the southeastern United States for the weather.
Tuesday morning people in Saskatoon woke up to a fresh coat of snow on cars, driveways and homes. The precipitation followed a chillier-than-first-predicted long weekend forecast.
Environment Canada confirmed the city received more than two centimetres, less than one inch, of snow overnight Tuesday.
“Some of the light flurry activity will continue through the morning, but should taper off throughout midday and the afternoon – then that will be pretty much it,” said Brad Vrolijk, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Vrolijik added the warm up – as much as it can be called that – will likely take place in the second half of this week.
For those wondering why it didn’t happen earlier, as first expected, it turns out Hurricane Matthew played a part.
Vrolijk said forecasters predicted last week the storm wouldn’t move up the eastern seaboard, expecting it to rotate back out into the Atlantic Ocean.
“Instead what happened is it got caught up in what we call a long-wave trough over eastern Canada,” he said, adding the Maritimes were hit with heavy rain Monday – the remnants of the storm.
A trough is a region of relatively low atmospheric pressure, often linked with areas where two air masses – with different temperatures and densities – collide, but do not mix.
“That slowed down the trough moving east, which slowed down everything further west,” Vrolijk explained.
The heaviest bouts of snowfall occurred in southwest Saskatchewan Sunday evening into Monday. Amounts ranged between five and 15 centimetres, around two to six inches.
Cyprus Hills Park saw the most with 25 centimetres, a little less than 10 inches, of snow during that time – on top of the 40 centimetres they received early last week.
For Saskatoon, the weather is expected to begin clearing out Tuesday night, with mixed conditions slated for the rest of the week.
“When the warmer air pushes in towards the end of the week, the big question will be exactly how warm it will get,” Vrolijk said.
“That depends on how much cloud comes with it – it’s still a wild card.”
Slippery conditions impact roads, highways
Shortly after midnight Tuesday, Kindersley RCMP responded to a semi crash on Highway 7, around two kilometres west of Flaxcombe.
The collision caused a traffic jam and RCMP were on scene for several hours. The road was subsequently salted for safety.
In Saskatoon, a jeep was spotted hung up on a guard rail in the nouthbound lanes of Circle Drive East, just north of 8th Street, during morning rush hour.
— CKOM Traffic (@ckomtraffic) October 11, 2016
Icing warnings were issued, with all bridge and overpass decks subject to freezing under current conditions.
Drivers also reported icy patches on highways around the city Tuesday morning.
“The road is pretty icy and the visibility … is not so good,” said Shawn, who was driving to Regina, but turned around at Hanley.
“If I do a break test, the tires start skid right away. It’s slippery enough that if you don’t need to travel, I don’t recommend anyone travelling.
There were traffic delays on Highway 12 after a light pole was knocked down in the soutbound lanes near the overpass between the city and Martensville.
Drivers alerted 650 CKOM to icy conditions on Highway 7 towards Rosetown, Highway 16 near Borden and Highway 41 between Saskatoon and Wakaw.
The Highway Hotline provides updated road conditions online.
Garden expert gives tips for sprinklers
Many were caught by the recent snows before they had a chance to get their sprinklers blown out for winter.
Dutch Growers gardening expert Rick van Duyvendyk said people should get their lines taken care of as soon as possible. If it has to wait for a day, he suggested that lines underground probably won’t freeze, but with forecasts calling for an overnight low of -7 C on Tuesday, he said people should take steps to protect their sprinkler system’s manifold.
“Make sure the water is turned off and your valves are open about a quarter of the way open. And then, just put a blanket, like a heavy blanket or something over the manifold, just to protect it for the one night,” he said.
Van Duyvendyk said people can insulate their sprinkler heads overnight by putting snow over them.