Summer snow batters Calgary for a third day
STORY LAST UPDATED AT 4:12 p.m. MST
CALGARY – Wednesday marks the third day of summer snowfall in Calgary.
A snowfall warning ended around 1:30 p.m., but 10 to 15 cm of snow was expected to fall in total.
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“We have three priorities right now,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Public safety, working with Enmax to restore power and clearing debris.”
Officials say the Calgary Fire Department has received 1,800 weather-related calls between 12 p.m. on Tuesday and 12 p.m. on Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, 30,000 people were still without power.
“We would like to advise citizens to call 911 if there is a threat to public safety [like] a downed tree on a power line, a downed tree on a house, or a tree around your car causing you to be trapped,” says Ken Uzeloc, Director, Calgary Emergency Management Agency.
The heavy, wet snow has downed power lines and snapped tree branches, causing power outages for thousands of Calgarians in various communities.
Officials say there are about 26,000 customers without power.
In addition, a number of traffic signals are not functioning due to power outages. So far, officials have repaired about 70.
“We have extra crews on in the field and in our control centre restoring outages and want to thank Calgarians for their patience,” says Enmax spokesperson Doris Kaufmann.
CLICK HERE for a list of current power outages in Calgary.
The City of Calgary says they are putting an anti-icing solution on city streets in an attempt to keep the snow from accumulating.
Still, drivers have had to battle slushy and slick roads.
Officials say crews will continue maintaining priority routes and trouble spots like bridge decks and ramps during the day.
Environment Canada is warning drivers that sudden, heavy snow on Wednesday may reduce visibility and slow traffic, especially during rush hours.
Police say power outages have left dozens of intersections without working traffic lights.
“On a day like today, the service will redeploy those resources to supplement general patrol officers in situations where a large number of intersections are without power,” says S/Sgt. Dean Vesco from the Calgary Police Traffic Unit.
The Calgary Board of Education says all of their schools are open.
“Some schools are reporting power outages,” said the CBE in a news release. “However, the schools remain open to accept students.”
There were about 60 facilities without power for at least part of the day, but crews are working to get power restored in all of the buildings.
Students and parents are asked to watch the CBE and school websites for updates, and plan to provide another update by 6:45 a.m. on Thursday.
As well, students taking school buses can check online for possible changes.
Meanwhile, The Calgary Catholic School District says their schools are also open today.
However, Chinook Adventist says school has been cancelled on Wednesday due to power outages.
Tanbridge Academy says school has been cancelled on Wednesday due to power outages.
Westmount Charter School says both campuses are closed on Wednesday due to the snow. All Mid-High students have been relocated to the elementary campus and can be picked up there.
The University of Calgary is open, but says the Mechanical Engineering building is closed.
A number of flights both arriving at and departing from the Calgary International Airport have been cancelled or delayed.
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CALGARY ZOO CLOSED
The Calgary Zoo was closed on Wednesday. Officials say the closure is due to snow which has accumulated on trees in their area, and may pose a potential risk to visitors.
“We’re going to have to wait out the day and see how far we get and see how much more snow accumulates,” explains Trish Exton-Parder from the Calgary Zoo. “It’s a priority for safety for us. So as much as we hate to close the zoo, it’s just much safer to do so.”
The zoo will reopen to the public on Thursday.
SPRUCE MEADOWS DELAYED
Organizers have delayed the opening day competitions at Spruce Meadows.
In addition, they say the facility won’t be open to the public on Wednesday due to the snowfall.
The 2014 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ has been rescheduled with competitions beginning Thursday, September 11 through to Sunday, September, 14.
SUN IN THE FORECAST
The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The snowfall will begin tapering off in the afternoon, before coming to an end on Wednesday evening.
“Sunshine makes a return on Thursday,” says Meterologist Jordan Witzel, who anticipates a high of 10°C.
“The returning warmth will be a slow process through the weekend,” he adds. “But we’ll back into the lower 20’s on Sunday afternoon.”
Check out a map and photos shared by people in Calgary below, as compiled by SAM. Click ‘next’ to view the photos on the map.