Winter wallops Alberta
Last Updated: Saturday, January 8, 2011 | 6:30 PM MT
Alberta has been hit with a fierce storm and forecasters expect the snow and high winds to continue through the weekend.Snowdrifts lined this St. Albert, Alta., neighbourhood on Saturday. (Submitted by Derrick Bradley)
Environment Canada has issued extreme-weather warnings for much of the province, including several snowfall and blowing-snow warnings.
Much of the province was hit with 10 to 15 centimetres of snow Friday night, and officials warn many central and northern Alberta communities to expect another 15 centimetres by Sunday morning.
Mounties are warning travellers in northern and central Alberta to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely critical. Police say road conditions are poor with little visibility, blowing snow and very slippery sections.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were no weather delays at either Calgary or Edmonton international airports.
Poor conditions close roads, cause crashes
A 68-year-old woman was killed Saturday in a collision involving three semi-tractor units, six cars and a Greyhound bus carrying 16 passengers east of Strathmore. Police say the crash happened at about 1:30 p.m. MT on Highway 1 at Range Road 243 A.
The driver of the car that the victim was in was taken to hospital in Calgary in serious condition. Two other passengers in the same car were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The drive and one passenger of the Greyhound also sustained minor injuries.
Police say road conditions and visibility were poor at the time. They say high winds and snow created "extended white-out conditions" on the highway for much of the day.
Meanwhile, a man was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition after he lost control of his car, which hit a pole on Sarcee Trail in Calgary.
In addition, stretches of Highway 1 and Highway 2 were shut down for several hours Saturday because of poor conditions.
RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb warned travellers to stay off the roads until at least Sunday.
"We are highly recommending that if anyone does go out there at all that they should be reconsidering it," he said.
"If they do go out, they should be well-prepared to exist for a long time in the weather conditions — in other words if they have to, bring lots of warm clothing and a powered-up cellphone."
Webb said dozens of cars ended up in ditches across the province Saturday, and estimated that number could leap over 100 by the end of the day.
"Conditions are that people that are very, very reasonable drivers are losing control for the simplest reason and then being inundated into the ditch. This would be a very good weekend to stay home and put your feet up."
Edmontonians dig out
As Edmonton residents woke up to the snowfall on Saturday, many expressed frustration that their neighbourhoods still had not been cleared since the last snowstorm.Snow blanketed this Sherwood Park, Alta., street on Saturday morning. (Submitted by Lisa Shamchuk)
Kim Spence, who lives in the Riverbend neighborhood, said some streets in the area remain unplowed but it's still a huge improvement over previous years.
"It's definitely been worse," she said. "There have been years where they didn't plow down here at all and there was two feet of ruts that we couldn't actually move our car at all and we were stuck."
Jordan Mowat said people often get stuck in the heavy snow on his street — and he was woken up just a few days ago by a hapless motorist who was stuck in the snow.
"Slid right into there, right into that snowbank," he said.
"[It took] probably about an hour to get him out — had to dig him out with the shovels, but we got him out."
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