On April 30, the Broadview area was hit with a massive snow storm that paralyzed the region, knocking out power, knocking down trees and shutting down sections of the #1 Highway.
The spring storm dumped up to 20 centimetres of snow in some areas, and high winds and blowing snow caused whiteout conditions and massive snow drifts.
Terry Mohl of the Broadview Hotel had his hands full, as dozens of stranded drivers pulled over into Broadview to wait out the storm.
“Every room was full. People were doubling up,” Mohl said.
“There were so many people out on the highway that you couldn’t even drive past (Kaycie’s Road House). Everything was congested with semis – even if you wanted to leave, you couldn’t.”
Numerous semis were forced to pull over onto the #1 Highway to wait for visibility to improve, including several that were stuck on the Grenfell service road. One semi lost control and ended up in the ditch near the exit to the #1 Highway in Grenfell.
A Greyhound bus was forced to pull over into Grenfell, when visibility on the highway dropped to zero. Passengers spent one night on the bus in the parking lot of the Grenfell Esso, and the next night at the Grenfell Community Hall, where residents set them up with mattresses, blankets and refreshments.
Mohl estimates that the Town of Broadview lost about 30 trees during the storm, as well as a couple of telephone poles.
“It was just a massive storm,” Mohl added.
Residents also had problems with flooding, as the power was out for roughly 13 hours, leaving them without sump pumps during that time. Kahkewistahaw residents were without power for closer to 30 hours.
Mohl hopes Broadview residents have learned that disaster can strike at any time, and that they need to be prepared.
“It was a learning experience for everyone, to plan ahead a little better. We’re definitely not ready for a disaster – it’s quite amazing how unprepared we are.”