An unwelcome guest took the steam out of May long weekend activities.
Old Man Winter swept through late Sunday, bringing below-normal temperatures and wet snow to area residents already frustrated by a cool spring. By mid-afternoon, Environment Canada issued snowfall warnings for much of Central Alberta.
Despite the weather, area police appeared to have a quiet weekend overall. No fatal crashes were reported in the region.
Environment Canada forecast technologist Greg Pearce said normal temperatures for Red Deer this time of year are 18 C for a high, 5 C for a low. Sunday’s temperature reached almost 23 C, but the overnight low reached -1.2 C.
The Nordegg area was expected to receive between 20 and 30 cm of snow by today.
Linda Latter, operator of Upper Shunda Creek campground west of Nordegg, said some people cancelled reservations a few days earlier because of weather forecasts.
The campground still got booked up due to drop-in traffic.
“We were down (overall) because we usually have to turn a number of campers away,” Latter said. “Numbers were definitely down in the area.”
Latter said there was no trouble otherwise, just a little noise. She screens campers on the phone beforehand as to their intentions.
“There was partying in the area,” she said. “A lot of it doesn’t happen so much in the campgrounds, but when they do random camping.”
Outside Gull Lake, a steady stream of RVs were seen heading towards Hwy 2 as large snowflakes continued to fall on Monday.
At Brewers campground, the few tenters left were busy packing up to flee the cold.
Katie Holubowich of Edmonton said they moved two tents underneath the trees when the wind picked up Sunday night.
Having tarps helped, added boyfriend Lance Cardinal of Edmonton.
“At first it was good, but then it got colder and (early Monday) morning I had to hop into my sister’s bed because it was so cold,” said fellow camper Kristen Edmunds, 13, of Red Deer.
Mother Lori Edmunds couldn’t believe the switch in weather. She said they were playing in the sand and wading in the lake on Sunday.
Brewers’ booth clerk Megan Bylsma said the 306-site campground was about 80 per cent full on the weekend and that they had few problems with noise.
A temporary liquor ban placed over the Victoria Day long weekend helps, she said.
Overall, people were having a good time boating and other outdoor activities when the weather was balmy.
“A couple of people were planning on going tubing,” Bylsma said. “Considering that on Wednesday, there was still a slick of ice on the lake, I don’t think they went tubing.”
Sylvan Lake RCMP Cpl. Kevin Halwa figures the cooler weather helped reduce trouble in the resort town.
“I don’t think the ice came off the lake until Wednesday or Thursday, so that slowed down anticipated visitors,” Halwa said.
People behaved themselves overall, he said.
About 26 intoxicated people landed in cells over the long weekend, Halwa said.
The snow also sidelined green thumbs.
Sandra DeClerk, treasurer for the Red Deer and District Garden Club, said many gardeners have been forced to keep tender plants indoors or cover them up.
“I would say things are two weeks behind,” said DeClerk, adding that plants arrived in stores later than last year.