Snow and wind slam central and northern Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: City road crews are working non-stop following the latest wallop of winter in Edmonton. As Kendra Slugoski reports, a parking ban has been declared.

EDMONTON — Heavy snow and wind made for treacherous driving conditions in and around Edmonton Thursday afternoon.

A snowfall warning, which was put in place for much of the Capital Region and other parts of Alberta Wednesday, remained in place Thursday evening.  A total of 10 to 15 centimetres is expected for the Edmonton region and up to 20 cm for the Peace Country by Friday.

Several area highways were in terrible condition Thursday evening. Here in Edmonton, police advised motorists to avoid downtown all together due to poor winter driving conditions. McDougall and Bellamy hills were both closed for a period of time during the Thursday evening commute because vehicles were stuck on both hills.

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“We were out on the hills right through the rush hour. It came down to a matter of trying to keep them sanded and we had trucks going around and around on those hills,” said Bob Dunford, the city’s director of roadway maintenance.

“But even with the sanding, you get that volume of traffic with the snow and all it takes is one or two vehicles to spin out and it brings traffic to a crawl.”

READ MORE: Second seasonal parking ban of 2015 declared for Edmonton

Edmonton police responded to 85 collisions between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday. Of those, 65 involved property damage, 14 were hit-and-runs and six involved injuries.

The situation was a slightly better during the morning commute, with 65 collisions between 6 and 11 a.m. Friday. Of those, 48 involved property damage, 11 were hit and runs and three resulted in injuries.

Motorists are reminded to drive to the conditions.

READ MORE: 5 things to remember when driving in winter conditions

Catch up on Thursday’s Alberta winter storm live blog below:

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To view all the Environment Canada warnings, click here.

An Arctic air mass moved into the province Wednesday evening, bringing significantly colder temperatures to most of Alberta. Some regions were even under an extreme cold warning.

Moisture from a Pacific weather system moved over top of Arctic air, producing heavy snowfall in parts of central and northern Alberta.

“A low from B.C. has brought moisture over the Rockies, combined with an Arctic airmass that’s moving down from the north,” explained Global Edmonton’s Chief Meteorologist Nicola Crosbie.

She estimated that wind chill values were around -25 on Thursday and down to -30 Friday morning.

The same system caused freezing rain in southern Alberta on Thursday, Crosbie added. It also brought with it very strong winds to southwestern Alberta, with gusts of 100 km/h or more forecast to develop Friday.

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Editor’s note: This story was originally published Feb. 4 and updated Feb. 5 and 6th with the latest weather information.

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