Calgary weather: Dangerous road conditions after blizzard

Calgarians continue to deal with dangerous commutes after a blizzard hammered the city and region.

Some highway drivers stranded for 18 hours overnight after storm began Monday


  • Calgary's snow route parking ban to start 9 a.m. Wednesday
  • Public and Catholic school buses will be running Wednesday

Calgarians continue to deal with dangerous commutes after a blizzard hammered the city and region.

Despite overnight work from road crews, officials say travel around the city is still challenging. 

All blizzard warnings for southern Alberta were lifted Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. MT.

Most Calgary schools were open but there was no school bus service today, which forced parents to find alternate transportation in an already difficult commute.

Both the public and Catholic school buses will be running on Wednesday, but there could be delays because of the road conditions. Officials are advising parents not to leave their children unattended at bus stops.

Travel in and out of the city was also crippled, with at least 50 WestJet and Air Canada flights cancelled Tuesday at Calgary International Airport.

The city has issued a snow route parking ban advisory that will begin at 9 a.m. MT Wednesday. 

Under the policy, parking is restricted on designated routes for 72 hours, or until the city announces the ban has been lifted. 

Calgarians can check the city`s website to find out if their street has been designated a snow route.

Over 200 crashes reported

Calgary police said by Tuesday afternoon they had responded to 219 crashes — 25 that involved injuries — since the storm started.

Road conditions were rough Tuesday morning in Calgary as motorists tried to battle against blowing snow. (CBC)

"Our units were responding all night to people that were stranded, as well as helping them out when they ended up having accidents,” said Duty Insp. Guy Baker.

Police are recommending people stay off the roads.

Canada Post said with many streets and highways impassable it hasn't been able to deliver mail to nearly 90,000 addresses.

The post office is reminding people that it's important to clear their driveways and walkways.

Transit woes

Calgary Transit was also warning about detours and delayed service. It recommends commuters check their website before heading out.  

— Theresa Schroder, Calgary Transit 

Student Emma Bulloch curled up on a transit bench for at least 25 minutes Tuesday, checking the status of her bus on her phone.

"It's so cold, I wish I could have dressed up better but I don't have anything warmer," said Bulloch.

"I'm just very, very cold and angry and I just want to get to school."

Buses are struggling to navigate the snowy streets and some are even getting stuck, said transit spokeswoman Theresa Schroder.

"We're definitely working hard right now to get out there," she said. "We have employees from our office staff, training officers, maintenance — all kinds of staff — out there digging buses out."

C-Trains are running at a reduced speedas crews work to clear the tracks. 

“They are maintaining them, as much as possible, just ice and all that. We do have a slow order in effect, which means the trains have to go slower than normal, just due to the blizzard to make sure they remain safe.”

Highway drivers stranded overnight

The Trans-Canada Highway has been reopened, but RCMP are still advising against travel. The highway had been shut down between Calgary and Brooks on Monday because of a multi-vehicle crash and poor road conditions.

Volunteer firefighters from Strathmore spent the rest of the evening rescuing stranded motorists caught in the whiteout conditions.

After spending 18 hours in their truck stuck on the highway east of Calgary, Valerie Fraser and her husband Steve pulled in to Strathmore on Tuesday afternoon to relax after a restless night with no food. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Valerie Fraser and her husband were on their way to see Pearl Jam in Calgary on Monday night when they got stuck on the highway.

The pair, who live in Medicine Hat, Alta., spent a sleepless night inside their car, said Fraser. 

"It was a little nerve-racking because you don't know what's going on, are you going to move. You want to make sure you're awake. You don't want to miss the call to move forward."

They came to a stop at 5 p.m. MT Monday and were only able to move again at 11:30 a.m. MT. Fraser says they passed the time by listening to Pearl Jam and talking with family and friends. 

Officials are reminding motorists to have winter driving kits in their vehicles. Those kits should include first aid supplies, ice scraper, shovel, blankets, fully-charged cellphone, windshield washer fluid and booster cables. 

  • For more tips on winter driving kits, listen to the following Homestretch interview:

A small section of Highway 40 near Bragg Creek and Highway 21 north of Strathmore remain closed because of dangerous road conditions.

Crews around the province worked through the night to clear roads deemed inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

In central Alberta, Red Deer opened an Emergency Operations Centre. It was activated to co-ordinate a response to the storm.

With files from Kyle Bakx


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.