Winter storm blankets city (video)

Winds whipped about 18 cm of new snow around Red Deer over the weekend. By early Sunday afternoon, 18.3 cm had fallen since Friday, with 40 km/h winds, gusting up to 60, on Saturday night. “Welcome to January,” said Dave Wray, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Weary shovellers Lee and Lea Myshak pack up their tools as a Public Works graders head west on 55th Street  on Sunday.

Weary shovellers Lee and Lea Myshak pack up their tools as a Public Works graders head west on 55th Street on Sunday.



Winds whipped about 18 cm of new snow around Red Deer over the weekend.

By early Sunday afternoon, 18.3 cm had fallen since Friday, with 40 km/h winds, gusting up to 60, on Saturday night.

“Welcome to January,” said Dave Wray, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“It’s an interesting system. It’s just sitting there, pushing moisture towards you guys over and over again from the east. And the northern wind is so wonderful,” he joked.

Wally Price, an Inglewood resident, called the snow “a minor dusting.”

“It’s not bad. I come from the East Coast. Snow’s a lot heavier back there,” said Price.

He waited until Sunday to pull out his shovel.

“There was no point in shovelling (Saturday). Here it was blowing. It was drifting.”

Another four to eight cm of snow was possible by this morning and the system was expected to start moving south east into the United States by this afternoon, Wray said.

“Winds won’t completely die down until Tuesday.”

Blowing snow and drifting made highways treacherous between Calgary and Edmonton throughout the weekend.

At about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, about 10 vehicles hit the ditch on Hwy 2 between Red Deer and Penhold.

Most of the drivers lost control while approaching a semi truck that jack-knifed in the northbound lane. Some vehicles struck the guard wire in the highway median.

RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb said no serious injuries were reported. Police re-routed traffic onto Hwy 42 for about an hour.

At about 3:30 on Saturday, RCMP temporarily closed both north and southbound lanes on Hwy 2 from Bowden to Airdrie.

On Sunday morning, a vehicle landed on its roof near the Hwy 2 off ramp at 32nd St. There were no injuries.

At about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, injuries were reported at a two-vehicle collision in the northbound lane on Hwy 2, just south of the Hwy 27 overpass near Olds.

Webb said driving conditions were very bad on Hwy 2, and basically everywhere south of Edmonton.

“Just name a road and we have vehicles off of it,” Webb said.

RCMP did not recommend travel over the weekend. The biggest concern was getting to people who ended up stranded. Despite all the warnings and weather broadcasts, some people are still unprepared for travel and “winter comes to them as a shock,” he said.

Red Deer RCMP recommended people involved in minor fender benders move their vehicles, if possible, out of the way of other motorists so documents could be exchanged safely.

“You’re always concerned about one collision causing another collision especially in this type of weather,” said Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Kathe DeHeer.

The city’s entire snow removal fleet was working on the weekend, as well as hired contracted equipment.

“(Roads) won’t be bare-road clear. But they will be safe and passable,” said Greg Sikora, the city’s public works manager, on Sunday.

“A large component of our work right now is just addressing public complaints in regards to accessibility.”

Crews were addressing drifts that formed near green spaces in residential neighbourhoods.

The city has also been cleaning up arterial roads due to the storm, and work to clear collector roads on bus routes, in the downtown core, and on residential streets adjacent to schools was going to start Sunday as planned.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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