‘Mother nature decided to have a fit’: Carlyle recharges, cleans up after major spring storm

A blast of winter hit the southeastern portion of Saskatchewan over the weekend yet again.

This time around, there ended up being heavier, wetter precipitation, which left most of the southeast without power during the weekend Colorado Low. It took 24 to 30 hours for power to be restored in Carlyle — the town of around 1,500 — with electricity restored late Sunday evening.

Cellular services were also impacted, with residents without service for an extended period of time during the outage.

Monday, SaskPower and SaskTel were still looking to restore services, with power still off for around 4,500 in Saskatchewan’s southeast as of 3 pm Monday. Most, if not all, SaskTel services have been restored.

“Mother nature decided to have a fit,” said Carlyle resident, Sarah Basey.

She was lucky, she said, in her own home. Others didn’t have the same experience.

“I think the lowest we got down to was 64 (degrees Fahrenheit) which could have been a lot worse. I had a girlfriend who was legit laying on the couch and her winter boots bundled up,” said Basey.

Carlyle is considering itself lucky with its power situation. Neighboring communities like White Bear, Redvers and Kenosee Lake all were without power into Monday evening.

The town worked quickly to ensure the safety of its residents. It opened the Fire Hall Sunday night to allow people the chance to charge their cell phones, get some shelter and enjoy some heat.

The temperatures stayed mild, but it could have been worse, according to some residents.

“Thank God for generators,” said Kayla Brown, a Carlyle mother of a seven month old.

“I didn’t have any electricity in his room at all. So I didn’t have a baby monitor, so I just sat in the dark and listened to him to see if (he was) crying because I (couldn’t) hear him from upstairs. I was just sitting in the dark.”

Kaitlyn Brown is another Carlyle mother, to a four month old. She said she dressed her child in a warm snowsuit, along with a toque and mitts until they got their generator running.

Without cell service in the community, many were isolated from the outside world, which meant no internet, no social media, and no way of checking a SaskAlert.

SaskAlert notifies Saskatchewan residents by way of an application-based notification.

Clareen Makelki said she received hers when both services were lost but couldn’t open up the internet to access the information.

Luckily, SMS text messages were still sending.

“We texted a friend in Regina. I was saying, ‘Yeah, I can’t get on the Highway Hotline. I can’t get on the Weather Network. I can’t see what’s going on and we got the two emergency alerts. So, our friend from Regina texted back and … (I) said, ‘I think SaskTel towers are down,’ and he texted back, ‘Oh, the emergency alert was to tell you that SaskTel was down,’” she said with a laugh.

After the storm passed Sunday, a two-day cleanup began. With many residents without power, it allowed for many to spend the day outside, either shoveling or enjoying the fresh spring snowfall.

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