March’s lamb-like start blew away when a winter blizzard roared in with a lion’s growl Sunday.
Snowfall began around 6 a.m. and by mid morning was whipped by an east wind gusting up to 60 km/h, causing drifting snow, poor visibility and icy road conditions.
The RCMP’s Innisfail Integrated Traffic Unit discouraged driving on Hwy 2 between Red Deer and Didsbury due to the bad roads.
Officers stayed busy throughout the day responding to collision and rollover reports and helping stranded motorists.
City RCMP also responded to several minor collisions. The City of Red Deer had numerous trucks spreading sand and salt on major roads all day. Buses ran behind schedule due to slick roads.
Environment Canada issued a winter storm warning Sunday morning advising of dangerous conditions created by a low pressure system moving through the province. Central Alberta was forecast to get up to 15 cm of snow with the Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg areas as much as 25 cm.
Snow tapered off by noon, but roads by then roads had turned to a soupy mess as newfallen snow melted.
The blizzard didn’t stop about 75 runners from participating in the 21-km Hypothermic Half marathon which started at the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. Race official Doug Moffatt said last year’s race was held under similar conditions, but without the wind.
“It’s my birthday today and I’m hoping for a personal best,” said runner Carrie McQuay of Stettler.
Racers were in good spirits with many saying at least the temperature remained steady at just below 0 C.
“Better crazy than lazy,” one sang out at the start.
The storm was forecast to end by early Monday with seasonal highs of between -4 and -9 C returning along with sunshine.
Later in the week, a chinook is expected to blow in, driving weekend temperatures as high as 9 C.