Heavy snow prompts seasonal parking ban for Edmonton

The first seasonal parking ban of the winter season will go into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday as city crews work to clear snow from the heavy weekend snowfall.

Some parts of Edmonton got more than 30 centimetres of snow over weekend

Glenn Tralnberg uses a snowblower to clear sidewalks in Edmonton on Monday morning. (Dave Bajer/CBC)

The first seasonal parking ban of the winter season will go into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday as city crews work to clear snow from the heavy weekend snowfall.

"We're hoping to have everything cleaned up by the end of the week," Andrew Grant, the city's general supervisor of infrastructure field operations, said Monday.

"We're looking at some favourable temperatures at the end of the week that should hopefully show some positive results."

Seasonal parking bans are on designated bus routes. They can be declared during major plowing events anytime between Nov. 5 and March 15.

When the ban goes into effect, vehicles parked in locations marked with seasonal parking ban signs are subject to tagging and towing. Bylaw officers will be working alongside snow-clearing crews, Grant said.

The ban will remain in effect until the city declares it is over.

City roads were in rough shape Monday morning after the capital region was buried in its first major snowfall of the season.

"We were watching the forecast pretty closely, recognizing there were going to be multiple intervals of snow accumulation," Grant said. "Obviously we got that, a lot of accumulation — over 30 centimetres in some parts of the city.

"Our teams were out there in full force, 24-7 throughout the weekend, and then really doubling up on equipment and manpower in the last 36 hours. So as of 7 o'clock [Sunday] night we were doubled up on our staff and equipment, trying to utilize every piece of equipment we had in our operation."

Between noon Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday, 88 collisions were reported to city police —  14 hit-and-run collisions, one injury collision and 73 property-damage crashes.

An Environment Canada snowfall warning was in place from late Sunday to early Monday in Edmonton but no advisories are currently in place for Alberta.

"It's going to be a little daunting out there," said Edmonton police staff Sgt. Sean Anderson.

"I'm anticipating that we'll have a fairly busy morning."

City crews are using more than 200 pieces of equipment, including plows, graders and bobcats. Contract graders will be called in to help clear bus routes during the parking ban.

Grant urged drivers to drive carefully and give road crews ample room to work.

City spokesperson Catherine Kuehne said city crews start work on major arterial and collector roads, then move on to less busy ones.

"People are surprised at how big the city is, so if they've seen our crew on one end of the city, it will be a while before they see them on another end," she said.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said Edmonton experienced "50 hours" of non-stop snowfall starting Saturday morning.

"It's not often you see snow that goes morning, afternoon and night in Edmonton," Phillips said Monday.  

"I always think the best weather is when it hits and runs but we got a system that came and stalled over Edmonton and central Alberta, and just wouldn't leave. It was like an unwanted house guest.

"It's just been hanging out and that's why people are getting a little tired of shovelling, plowing and pushing."

It's been an especially cold and snowy season in Edmonton, Phillips said.  

Not including Monday, the Edmonton International Airport has recorded 82 centimetres of snow so far this season.

Edmonton didn't hit the same benchmark until March 3 last winter.

"It's really been brutal," Phillips said. "People are already saying enough's enough, and honestly, winter hasn't even started yet.

Due to the significant amount of snow and poor driving conditions in parts of Parkland County, bus service has been cancelled for Monday, but the school will remain open. 

Between two and four centimetres of snow is expected to fall in Edmonton before the snow finally tapers off later Monday morning.

Here is the latest Environment Canada forecast for Edmonton:

Today: Snow ending this morning then clearing. Amount two to four centimetres. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h near noon. High –5 C. Wind chill near –14.

Tonight: Clear. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low –12 C. Wind chill near –15.

Tomorrow: Increasing cloudiness. Wind becoming west 20 km/h near noon. High –1 C. Wind chill –16 in the morning and –7 in the afternoon.