When a North American city gets pummeled so hard by snow you have to measure the totals in feet, as Estevan was last year, your thoughts can't help but turn to whether it was the worst snowstorm ever.
After December 2016 record snowfall, I looked back to see how lucky we are and have been this past year. And 71 years ago, we did hit another record. I chose this storm in 1947 because it basically shut the whole Southeast Corner down.
The storms started boxing day, and continued, on and off, for weeks. And even then, the worst was yet to come, with storm after storm finally culminating in a 10-day monster, ending on February 8, that Environment Canada calls the worst storm in Canadian railroad history.
Transportation shut down almost completely, with tracks shut for days or weeks, and some roads closed until the spring. Crews had to dig down for several meters just to find the tracks. Only the tops of telephone poles were visible in some districts.
Supplies in and out of the region slowed to a trickle. Home delivery was impossible, and people would struggle through the snows to central supply depots for their milk and other groceries. The sheer cold threatened coal supplies.
For farmers, it was a nightmare. One story holds that one man fed his chickens by tossing grain down through the coop chimney. Another cut a hole in his barn roof to keep his cattle fed, and still others went from home to shed in completely submerged snow tunnels.
I guess we should consider ourselves lucky as the only records were setting this year is major energy consumption, as we’re trying to keep our homes warm. No tunnels to trek through this year.