Freezing rain warning lifted for Edmonton after slippery Friday commute
A freezing rain warning in place for the Edmonton area was lifted Friday morning after a commute that saw several closures outside of the city.
Freezing rain overnight left some roads in and around the Edmonton area slick and unpredictable, prompting RCMP to tell drivers not to head out if they don’t have to.
Due to extreme weather conditions that left roads icy, Spruce Grove RCMP said at around 8:30 a.m. that travel was not recommended.
About half an hour later, police said Highway 43, north of Highway 16, was impassable and a tow advisory was in place.
The highway was reopened to both directions at about 12:15, p.m., but police warned there would still be a lengthy wait for tow services.
Police said they had responded to a number of collisions in the area, but there were no reports of any significant injuries.
Morinville RCMP said that Highway 44 was also impassable at around 11 a.m. due to a collision near Township Road 540, south of Villenuve. The highway was open again to traffic shortly after 3 p.m.
Police said they were on scene of a two-vehicle collision with injuries. Both drivers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, RCMP said.
Police said there were multiple crashes and rollovers along the Highway 16 corridor and on roads in the surrounding area throughout Friday morning.
Watch below: Meteorologist Jesse Beyer has our seven-day weather forecast starting Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. A warm up is on the way!
Conrad Garden was travelling west of Edmonton Friday morning when he said things were getting really slippery while passing Stony Plain.
“Everyone was going the speed limit and things seemed fine, and then all of a sudden there’s a jackknifed semi in the ditch, and everyone around me all slammed on the brakes, and you didn’t slow down at all.”
Garden said he was lucky he wasn’t caught in a pileup.
“It was a bit of a scare.” he said. “And then from that point forward, you were going less than 10 kilometres an hour. And even at that speed, if you hit your brakes you just started drifting sideways.”
South of Edmonton, Leduc RCMP also asked drivers to slow down because of the freezing rain.
At about 10:30 Friday morning, St. Albert Transit announced that service would be temporarily suspended because of the icy conditions.
Service was fully restored as of 12:45 p.m., but the service warned that there would be delays and that severe weather detours were in effect for routes A6 and A9.
Edmonton police responded to a total of 125 collisions between 5:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eighteen of those were hit-and-run collisions, four were injury collisions and the remaining 103 were listed as property damage collisions.
Drivers in Edmonton were told to expect to have a slow commute on Friday morning thanks to the nasty weather making its way into the region.
Environment Canada said freezing rain was reported in Whitecourt, Stony Plain, and Barrhead Friday morning and was tracking southeastward towards the Edmonton area.
Freezing rain warnings were issued Thursday afternoon for areas southwest and west of the city, including Whitecourt, Edson, Fox Creek, Swan Hills, Morinville, Mayerthorpe, Evansburg, Spruce Grove, Drayton Valley, Devon, Rimbey and Pigeon Lake.
The warning was expanded Friday morning to include the Leduc, Camrose, Wetaskiwin and Tofield areas, as well as north and east of Edmonton around Westlock, Barrhead, Athabasca, Fort Saskatchewan and Vegreville.
The warning was lifted for the Edmonton area at about 12:15 Friday afternoon.
By 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, warnings only remained in effect in Hanna, Coronation, Oyen, Leduc, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Tofield, Lloydminster, Wainwright, Vermilion, Provost, Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail and Stettler.
“A warm and moist Pacific air mass is set to move in overnight,” Global Edmonton’s chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer said on Thursday before the system moved in.
“There will be ample moisture to support liquid precipitation in the mid-upper levels, but with a frozen surface, much of this will freeze on contact in the area.
“Precipitation will change into wet snow and possibly stack up in the three to six centimetre range by Saturday morning.”
The system may move southeastwards with the potential to expand the warnings as it goes. Roads, walkways, parking lots and other surfaces may become slippery, so motorists and pedestrians should exercise caution.
“Travel plans in central Alberta on Friday and Saturday should be done met with extreme caution,” Beyer said.
The conditions, while not the greatest, will not be at all unfamiliar to Albertans, who have experienced a couple blasts of winter weather in the past few weeks.
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WATCH: Meteorologist Jesse Beyer has our seven-day weather forecast starting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Get ready for a slick commute Friday.
– With files from Morgan Smith, Global News and Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED
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