Extreme weather in the southwest didn’t take any holidays this season, as folks in the area experienced everything from blowing snow, to freezing rain, to near-record-breaking cold over the Christmas break.

One Swift Current resident Harvey Engel, said his kids were travelling from Calgary last Friday to visit for Christmas, but they didn’t make it home that night. 

"The people of Saskatchewan step up to the plate, and do what's necessary without much fanfare," Engel said. "I thought it deserved a little bit of recognition."

It was around 10 p.m. when Cam and Amy Epp had to pull over in Gull Lake due to the snowstorm. 

“They phoned the hotel – but they said no, we're all full, but the town council has opened up the skating rink and they're bringing in mats, and they're bringing in blankets,” Engel said. “So, they went there and there were about 100 people staying overnight and there was food, I think from the people of Gull Lake. And in the morning, they brought milk and cereal for breakfast." 

Harvey and Marion Engel ended up hosting 14 family members for Christmas, all safe and warm and celebrating together. 

Another local heading home from Red Deer on Tuesday night, also had to wait until the next morning before getting into the city.  

Alex Baldi was visiting family in Red Deer over Christmas and was just twenty minutes away from the end of his travels, when he was stopped on Highway 1 at 7:30 p.m., due to the collision involving a tow truck and two semis. 

“The roads were getting a little slick, so I started slowing down, and next thing you know, I see a bunch of cars backed up,” Baldi said. “I assumed there was an accident, but I didn't actually find out there was an accident until 2:00 a.m. when my sister finally found that Low Cost Towing page [about what happened].” 

He was parked just before the weigh scales east of Swift Current, turning his car on every so often to stay warm but still save gas, with traffic slowly moving again at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  

Baldi said he had checked the Highway Hotline before leaving Medicine Hat that evening, and again while being stopped overnight, but found no information on the incident.