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Near zero-visibility fog grounds flights at Edmonton airport Saturday morning

WATCH ABOVE: Thick fog caused dozens of flights to be cancelled or delayed at the Edmonton International Airport, where operations ground to a halt Saturday morning.

People in the Edmonton area and across central Alberta woke to almost zero-visibility fog Saturday morning, prompting an advisory from Environment Canada and grounding flights at the airport.

The weather agency said areas of dense fog with near-zero visibility would persist until around noon.

As the morning went on, the fog began to lift and the sun came out in the afternoon. The fog advisory was dropped in the Edmonton area around 1 p.m., but remained south of the city between Leduc and Red Deer.

Edmonton police said 25 collisions were reported to them between 6 a.m. and noon, including three hit-and-runs, and three crashes that caused injuries.

READ MORE: Smashing start to spring with 79 record highs broken across Canada

The advisory stretched from the Fort Saskatchewan and Vegreville area south to the Drumheller area. It included the Edmonton region and extended east to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

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Drivers were advised to turn on their headlights and be prepared for areas of near-zero visibility.

Flights cancelled, delayed at EIA

Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed at the Edmonton International Airport, where operations ground to a halt. Spokesperson Traci Bednard said the fog had significant impact.

“This morning, no arriving flights or departing flights have been able to operate and, or course, that’s a particular challenge for us because we’re in the middle of spring break. So certainly a lot of people here waiting for those flights.”

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Bednard said it is unusual for the fog to last so long. She said there are strict safety regulations for fog and visibility.

“If the fog is at a certain level, then flights can’t operate in or out. We have seen the fog since early this morning and although from time to time it’s improved a small bit, it has not improved enough for flights to operate,” she said around 11 a.m.

Operations resumed shortly after noon. Due to the lengthy delay, those scheduled to travel on Saturday were advised to check their flight status.

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At the same time, the Air Quality Health Index was at a five out of 10, or moderate risk, in the Edmonton region on Saturday morning.

The air quality has been reduced since Thursday, when a special air quality statement was issued due to increased pollution levels in the region.

The Alberta government said people should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if they were experiencing adverse symptoms.

READ MORE: Special air quality statement lifted in Edmonton and area

Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the Alberta legislature grounds in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog cloaked the Alberta legislature grounds in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Dense, near-zero visibility fog in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Les Knight, Global News
One of the best ways to track locally hazardous driving conditions is from local viewer reports. The #yegtraffic hashtag is often used by Twitter users reporting traffic issues within Edmonton.

If safe to do so, share your weather photos with us via the Global Edmonton Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also post updates from your community using the hashtags #yegwx and #abstorm.

Want your weather on the go? Download Global News’ Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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