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'Please stay home': Winter storm causes havoc on icy roads

Calgary Herald logo Calgary Herald 2018-03-03 Bill Kaufmann

Another slow-moving winter storm pummelled Calgary on Friday, snarling traffic and causing multi-vehicle pileups on roadways in and around the city.

Commuters drove into pockets of slippery chaos throughout the city after about eight centimetres of snow fell overnight in parts of Calgary and continued into Saturday.

There were several multi-vehicle pileups during the commute, some of them reported on the TransCanada Highway at Stoney Trail N.E. and points further south to 17th Avenue S.E., which involved a jack-knifed semi-trailer.

From midnight to 4 p.m. Friday, police reported 211 collisions, 12 of them involving injuries. Police said the driver of a Chevy Cobalt was hospitalized in serious, life-threatening condition after striking a concrete bridge support Friday morning on Stoney Trail near Peigan Trail S.E. 

RCMP reported multiple collisions and vehicles in the ditch on Highway 1 just west of Calgary, and eastbound lanes were closed briefly until they could be plowed. Numerous crashes occurred on Highway 2 between Calgary and Airdrie.

“If you don’t need to be out on the roads, please stay home,” Cochrane RCMP said in a statement.

A Pacific low rolling into the province from B.C. brought with it heavy snow, and isolated strong winds. 

Snowfall warnings are in place from Canmore to Brooks and Drumheller to Lethbridge.

Environment Canada says snow, at times heavy, will continue for most of central and southern Alberta until Sunday, with total accumulations expected to reach between 10 and 20 centimetres. In some areas, there could be as much as 30 centimetres.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, 22 centimetres of the white stuff had fallen in Okotoks, with southwest Calgary seeing the largest accumulations in the city, at 18 centimetres.

Claresholm saw 15 centimetres of snow, while Calgary airport reported accumulations of 10 centimetres. 

“It’ll be a difficult drive for many into the weekend,” said Environment Canada’s Heather Pimiskern.

Since October of last year and the end of February, the city had received 115 centimetres of snow, well above the average of 70 centimetres during that time.

Last month, 42.6 centimetres of snow fell on Calgary, more than four times the average.

The city’s spent at least $10 million on snow clearing since Jan. 1 — not counting for this latest storm.

 

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