Spring is here, which means it’s basically the “4th” winter in Saskatchewan. With the major spring blizzard that swept through southeastern Saskatchewan and parts of southern Manitoba recently, we thought it would be fitting to look back at a few of Saskatchewan’s infamous weather moments.
Regina Tornado June 30th, 1912
What started out as a beautiful day on June 30th, 1912, took a turn just before 5 p.m., as clouds started to build with a dangerous green tinge. Then, a strong cyclone touched down south of Regina before travelling north, tearing through neighbourhoods north of Wascana Lake and the downtown.
This tornado is ranked as the deadliest cyclone in Canadian history. Twenty-eight people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. There was $1.2 million in property damages and 2,500 people were left without homes.
Winter of 1947
We all know that Saskatchewan is well-known for rough winters but many people consider the winter of 1947 to be the worst. Storms began just after Christmas and continued on and off for weeks.
On January 30th, 1947, a 10-day blizzard swept through the south of the province. Snowdrifts blocked roads and rail lines from Calgary to Winnipeg, some until spring. In some communities, only the tops of telephone poles were visible. One Moose Jaw farmer had to cut a hole in the roof of his barn to get to his cows.
The blizzard has been dubbed the “Worst Storm in Canadian Railroad History” by Environment Canada.
Pilot Butte Storm of 1995
The Pilot Butte storm of 1995 was a powerful storm and tornado that devastated Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, Canada, on August 26th, 1995. At about 4:40 p.m., a major wind and hailstorm started in the town. The storm later spawned a tornado, which touched down at the west edge of the town limits, demolishing a farmyard and cement plant.
Tattered siding and shingles on houses, broken windows in buildings, and dented cars were common in the aftermath. Golfball and larger hail left drifts 50 cm deep in several places around the town. The worst damage from the storm was in the west and south ends of the town, almost all trees in the town were damaged and uprooted.
Saskatoon Blizzard January 10th, 2007
On January 10th, 2007, a severe snowstorm hit the city of Saskatoon and is considered to be one of the worst storms in Saskatchewan’s history. As 25 centimeters of snow piled up and winds gusted between 70 and 90 km/h, vehicles were brought to a standstill, people were stranded and many public services shut down.
Two people perished of hypothermia after trying to walk from their stranded vehicles, and the city was left with around $1 million in cleanup costs.
La Ronge Wildfires, Summer 2015
During July 2015, more than 13,000 residents were forced from their homes as wildfires ravaged northern Saskatchewan.
The area experienced an unusual dry stretch and after a couple of lightning strikes, the parched vegetation lit up.
By July 6th, 112 fires were blazing in the province. Some of those fires infringed on populated areas, including the town of La Ronge, Sask., forcing mass evacuations.
Fire crews and soldiers from across Canada travelled to northern Saskatchewan to help fight the blazes, which burned well into the fall.