We left home yesterday morning for a shopping trip to Saskatoon, fully aware of the forecast of an Alberta Clipper, a fast moving winter storm that would pass through this area in the afternoon. The forecast of the time and the area affected were still a little vague in the morning and we though we had time to get home before it hit.
I don’t think that was bad reasoning, but then we stopped for a cappuccino at at my favourite coffee shop in the morning. Later we decided to give the fast food places a miss and opted for a meal at Boston Pizza. All was well when we went into the restaurant, but noticed snow begin to fall outside as we were eating dinner. It was snowing heavily, but so far no wind. By the time we left the restaurant the wind had arrived. We quickly did some grocery shopping and left for home 10 minutes before 2 PM.
At first, traffic was moving almost normally and visibility was reduced but still good. Conditions became progressively worse as we travelled and traffic was moving more and more slowly. When we got to Delisle visibility was almost zero. We still hoped that things might be better once we turned off onto highway 45, but when we got to where the corner should be, I couldn’t see the corner or the highway. Chris got out to direct me and I managed to back up and get turned around.
We made it back into Delisle. What now? We sat in the running car to warm up and let the windows defog and considered our options. Finally we texted friends who live in Delisle to see if we could come over for night. They texted back that they were storm-stayed in the city, but they gave us the code to get into their house and garage.
Their home is in an exposed area on the north-east edge of town. We drove over there, going very slowly because it was difficult to see where we were, and got stuck in a drift that we did not see. A little rocking of the car back and forth got us free and we made it to their house, parked in their garage and were thankful to be safe in a warm house.
Soon we heard from our daughter that she was storm-stayed in Rosetown. Her husband thought at first he could come and get her, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk. She booked into a motel, getting the last room available in town. So we all had a warm place for the night.
The storm ended around midnight and at 5 AM the town of Delisle was clearing streets. Our son-in-law left home at 5:30 to clear snow for some businesses in Delisle, then moved on to the town of Vanscoy to clear the streets there. We waited until our friends came home and visited a bit before heading home. Our daughter got home in time to drive children to school, which didn’t begin until 10:00 this morning.
I haven’t read of any serious accidents or injury, but a lot of people spent the night in places they hadn’t planned to be. We are thankful to God for His protection and for good friends who let us into their house even if they weren’t there.