Alberta drivers told to brace for freezing rain, dense fog

There is a freezing rain warning in effect for highways north and west of Edmonton, Environment Canada says.

Freezing rain warning, fog advisories issued Friday morning

A section of Highway 43 near Grande Prairie was closed for almost four hours Friday as semi-trailer units that couldn't make it up Smoky Hill were cleared. (Robert Knowles/Facebook)

Motorists are being urged to exercise caution as a mix of freezing rain and dense fog moves across northern and central Alberta, on Friday. 

There is a freezing rain warning in effect for highways north and west of Edmonton and Environment Canada is advising drivers to slow down and maintain a safe following distance.

The warning covers a large area including Slave Lake, Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Whitecourt, Edson, Fox Creek, Hinton, Swan Hills, Grande Cache, Grande Prairie, Beaverlodge, Valleyview, Wabasca, Peerless Lake and Cadotte Lake.

Highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery, Environment Canada warned in the advisory.

"Freezing rain has developed along a line from north of Peace River to Whitecourt and will move east this morning," said the alert issued around 10:30 a.m. Friday.

"Warnings may need to be expanded today as the freezing rain transitions eastwards."
The red section of the map indicates freezing rain while the grey portion indicates a fog advisory. (Environment Canada)

Both the east and westbound lanes of Highway 43 near Smoky Hill were clogged with vehicles Friday morning for almost four hours due to icy conditions, Grande Prairie RCMP said in a release.

Numerous semi-trailer units were not able to make it up Smoky Hill because of the icy roads, RCMP said.

"All roadways in and around Grande Prairie continue to be very icy," stated the release issued around 10:45 a.m.

"Motorists are asked to reduce their speed and allow extra time for travel today," RCMP said.

A fog advisory issued for the Edmonton area, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Redwater, Smoky Lake, Hanna, Coronation, Oyen, Leduc, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Tofield, Lloydminster, Wainwright, Vermilion, Provost  Morinville, Mayerthorpe and Evansburg was lifted around noon Friday.

Dense fog had been noted on several highway cameras around central and eastern Alberta, the advisory issued by Environment Canada stated.

Drivers should be aware that during times of dense fog, visibility may be suddenly reduced to near zero, the advisory stated.