A storm that began Saturday has blanketed western Saskatchewan in a deep cover of snow, shutting down some highways and delaying services in the province’s most populous cities.

Canada’s weather service says heavy and blowing snow will continue to move eastward into Monday morning, with wind gusts up to 60 kilometres an hour.

“If you’re in Saskatoon it’s kind of peaked and it’s starting to slowly come down,” Environment Canada Meteorologist Justin Shaer told CTV News on Sunday morning.

“Towards the southeast of the province, from Regina to Yorkton, Carlisle — [still] very much in the thick of it right as we speak,” he said.

“We’ve gotten reports of really low visibility and lots of heavy snow coming down there. So they’re going to be in it for quite a bit, until this evening when everything starts to ease up.”

As of Sunday morning, Saskatchewan Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended around Moose Jaw, between Prince Albert and Big River, Saskatoon toward Lanigan, and between Davidson and Dundurn.

The highway from North Battleford to Kindersley was closed Sunday morning, with the highway hotline reporting zero visibility, slippery sections, loose snow, snow drifts and swirling snow.

The junction of Highway 11 to Blackstrap Provincial Park was also closed, according to the hotline.

If possible, drivers are advised to delay travel until conditions improve. For up-to-date highway conditions, consult the highway hotline.

“Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult due to accumulating snow,” Environment Canada said in its storm warning.

“Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.”

A radar image from 11:18 a.m. on Sunday showing the weather system making its way across the province. (Source: Twitter / IWeatherSK)

Public Safety Canada encourages Saskatchewan residents to make an emergency plan and kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says the storm is the result of a low-pressure system approaching the Dakotas in the Midwestern U.S.

The City of Saskatoon said commuters could expect delays in public transit, with Access Transit operating as an emergency service only, “provided buses are able to access the area.”

“City snow crews are working hard and around the clock plowing, grading and sanding / salting to get Saskatoon moving,” the city said in a news release.

“Thank you for your patience while we work through these challenging weather conditions.”

In a media briefing on Sunday afternoon, the Saskatoon Fire Department’s director of emergency management Pamela Goulden-McLeod advised those looking to take a bus in the city to monitor the regular transit alerts.

All civic centres and public libraries in Saskatoon were closed on Sunday, with libraries expected to reopen by noon on Monday.

Despite the obstacles the snow has created, Goulden-McLeod says most residents know the storm has brought some much-needed moisture to the area.

“Here in Saskatchewan we know what snow is like, we are a winter community. This snow is actually appreciated. We need this moisture, and this is imporant moisture for us going forward into spring,” she said.

For those hunkered down at home, Goulden-McLeod recommends checking in loved ones and neighbours.

“Take a look, watch out for your neighbours; check in with relatives and just take care of yourself today.”

Larry Hrycan clearing snow from his driveway in the Willowgrove neighbourhood of Saskatoon on Sunday. (Courtesy: Karen Hrycan)

The Saskatoon airport says about 30 flights were cancelled over the weekend due to the storm.

WestJet and Rise Air have both cancelled all flights in and out of Saskatoon, according to a statement from the airport on Sunday. Several Air Canada and Sun flights are still scheduled for the day.

They say WestJet may resume service in Saskatoon by Sunday evening.

-With files from Stacey Hein

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