Weekend snowstorm closes highways in Alberta and Saskatchewan
Snow-covered highways in southern Alberta reopened Sunday as stuck or smashed vehicles were removed, but snowfall advisories and even a blizzard warning remained in effect in some areas as the storm tracked into Saskatchewan.
Environment Canada says a strong low-pressure system brought heavy snow and strong winds to much of central and southern Alberta on Saturday into Sunday morning.
It says the system even produced a few short-lived severe thunderstorms in the southeast corner of Alberta before blizzard conditions descended on the area Saturday evening.
The Trans-Canada Highway east of Calgary was closed in both directions on Saturday, while police said travel was restricted on the highway west of the city as crews responded to a crash involving four semis and 11 other vehicles. No serious injuries were reported.
Calgary received between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow, while Cochrane west of the city got 30 centimetres. A blizzard warning remained in effect Sunday for Cypress Hill Provincial Park and Foremost in the province’s southeast.
Calgary International Airport reported 49 cancellations of arriving or departing flights on Saturday, and five flights that were diverted.
Electric utility Fortis reported that snow and wind caused power outages south of Calgary and that weather conditions and road closures slowed repairs.
“We’re mobilizing our crews from across the province to help with the continued storm restoration,” Fortis tweeted on Sunday.
Police in Calgary cautioned against travelling on Sunday and had to cancel their annual half-marathon.
“Committee members assessed the course and found snow drifts in place of more than two feet. This course is a challenging one at the best of times, and while there are those who will have trained well, today’s race conditions are even more difficult,” the department said in a news release.
Forecasters said the blizzard was expected to leave the province Sunday afternoon, which meant a blizzard warning was issued next door in southwestern Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan government’s Highway Hotline reported Sunday that the Trans-Canada Highway was closed from the Alberta boundary to Swift Current, a stretch that’s close to 170 kilometres long.
© 2019 The Canadian Press