Capital in chaos as snowstorm blasts city
MARC BENCE/FOR METRO EDMONTON
« We’ll keep plowing until the snow stops and then we’ll start picking up, but right now the focus is just on roads roads roads. »
Motorists were left spinning their wheels on streets of glass yesterday as a blast of winter weather blanketed the city with sheets of snow and ice, blamed for at least 100 accidents that sent a handful of drivers to hospital.
About 20 to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall on the capital region over the next two days as a warm band of pacific air blows across the Rockies, colliding with a frigid arctic storm.
The massive weather system has already drenched B.C. with pounding rain, which is turning into a band of snowfall as it crosses central Alberta, said Brian Proctor, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.
While the storm is hitting Edmonton with waves of snow, it will disperse by midweek as temperatures remain chilly at around - 20 C, he said.
Over 80 plows and sanding trucks were deployed yesterday morning, focusing on the city’s main roads and freeways, before 136 graders were rolled out overnight, said Barry Belcourt, city director of roadway maintenance.
"We’ll keep plowing until the snow stops and then we’ll start picking up, but right now the focus is just on roads roads roads," he said.
From the start of the storm to around 4 p.m. yesterday, there were over 100 accidents across the city, a dozen involving injuries, as vehicles slipped through icy intersections.
"The message here is for everyone to drive for the weather conditions, not the posted limits, and have patience out there," said police spokeswoman Lisa Lammi.
Outside of the city, icy rain and blowing snow wreaked havoc on provincial highways, as the RCMP warned drivers to carry blankets and supplies in their cars while many roads were listed in poor condition.
At Edmonton’s international airport, dozens of flights were also delayed and at least one was cancelled due to the giant weather system, said airport spokesman Jim Rudolph.
He said travellers should leave earlier than normal for their flights to allow for extra travelling time, and to double-check their flight information online in case of cancellations.