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Storm wreaks havoc on local highways

The Humboldt region got its first blast of winter weather last week as a nasty system of rain, wet snow and wind moved in.

The Humboldt region got its first blast of winter weather last week as a nasty system of rain, wet snow and wind moved in.
The storm hit its peak on October 26, as highways in the area closed due to the weather, particularly the combination of wet snowfall and high winds, which gusted between 33 and 82 km/h, polishing roads to an icy sheen.
Beginning in late afternoon, when RCMP advised that Hwy. 16 between Dafoe and Wadena was in particularly poor condition, RCMP around the province began advising motorists not to travel overnight, due to the terrible road conditions.
As the night went on, some roads were even being blocked by stopped traffic and abandoned vehicles.

This is actually what happened west of Lanigan on Hwy. 16.
RCMP were notified that semis were blocking Hwy. 16 about one kilometre west of Esk at about 9:30 p.m. on October 26, reported Const. Blair Wile of the Lanigan RCMP.
There were six units involved in total, Wile said - one was in the south ditch, three were tangled up in each other in the middle of the road, and two more were stopped behind them.
The pile-up occurred when the semis were attempting to pass one another on the road, Wile believes. Three of the trucks got tangled together, while the last one in the train went into the ditch to avoid hitting the others.

"Magically, there was no major damage to the vehicles," Wile noted.
One bumper had a little damage, he noted, but the semis in the middle of the road that ran into each other actually hit rubber to rubber, so they were all still driveable.
No one was injured in the pile-up either.
The roads at the time of the collision were absolutely polished, Wile noted.
"The highway was ridiculous," he said.
Wile had actually parked his police vehicle on the north side of the highway in an attempt to stop traffic from getting into the pile-up, and the truck was blown, thanks to the high winds and ice, across the highway.
"It blew to the south side of the road," he said.

For about three and a half hours, emergency crews and the Department of Highways gravelled around the semis to try and get them moving and clear the road.
By 2 a.m., the road was clear, Wile noted, and the semis slowly went on their way, though the roads were still very icy.
In all that time, there were only about 20 cars lined up on either side of the closure - far fewer than there would be on a normal night.
No one turned around either, Wile believes - most of the truck drivers who had to stop took the opportunity to sleep a little.

Closer to home, Humboldt RCMP stated that no serious collisions were reported to them throughout the storm. Though vehicles were noticed in ditches in the area - one was even spotted in the ditch off 5th Ave. early Wednesday morning - there were no incidents serious enough to report to police.
As long as vehicles are still driveable and no one is injured, small crashes don't have to be reported to police any longer.
"There was nothing here. Not even fender benders," noted Cpt. Randy Wittig of the Humboldt RCMP. "It's a little shocking... The roads were ugly."

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