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Vehicles forced into ditch by strong winds


A high-wind blast through Central Alberta is blowing trucks off the road and reducing visibility to near zero in places.

“It’s definitely less than desirable road conditions,” said Const. Vincent Hetu, of Ponoka Integrated Traffic Services.

“If you can stay home, stay home because you’re definitely putting your life in your hands if you drive.”

Driving conditions are abysmal from Wetaskiwin to Lacombe. High westerly winds are whipping snow across the highway, creating slippery conditions and poor visibility.

The result has been traffic mayhem. A truck jackknifed in the median on Wednesday morning and two rollovers were caused when utility trailers being pulled by vehicles were blown off the road.

“One of the witnesses said the wind just caught the trailer and yanked it right off the road, causing the truck to roll.”

A number of other vehicles have also found the ditch. A tow ban is not in place but RCMP are recommending tow trucks avoid hooking up vehicles in the current conditions.

Speeds on Hwy 2 were down to about 80 km/h and even less on Hwy 2A, said Hetu.

“Hwy 2A from Wetaskiwin to Ponoka is completely snow-covered with high winds and very little visibility. You can basically not make out the road at some points.”

East-west routes such as Hwy 13 are also completely snow-covered.

Conditions are expected to get even worse as the sun sets and temperatures drop and slush turns to ice.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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