Significant snowfall hampers travel in Calgary and southern Alberta, shuts down border crossing in Coutts
CALGARY – Heavy snowfall hit Calgary and southern Alberta Wednesday, leading to the closing of a border crossing on Highway 4 in the village of Coutts.
That was one of numerous southern Alberta communities, including Calgary and Lethbridge, that were whacked by heavy snow Wednesday evening.
Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the City of Calgary Wednesday, forecasting as much as 30 centimetres of snow could fall throughout the night and into Thursday morning.
Around 7 p.m. @511 Alberta tweeted that Highway 4 Coutts border crossing was closed, and that the Coutts motel was full. Shortly thereafter, @HouckisPokise tweeted that the Coutts Civic Center at 105 Centre CAve was open and accepting stranded travellers. The RCMP were advising motorists not to travel on roads south of Lethbridge, including Highways 4, 5 and 64.
Inside the city, Calgary police have responded to a number of minor collisions and cars sliding into ditches as a result of the recent snowfall.
The City of Calgary has its plows out in full force with a focus on priority one routes like Crowchild and Glenmore trails. Snow and ice-clearing teams will lay down salt and a brine mixture to accelerate melting.
Tuesday's snow event cost the city $115,000. According to Ward 1 councillor, Ward Sutherland, city crews used 370 tonnes of salt, 86 tonnes of brine mixture and 288 litres of calcium chloride.
The snow clearing effort will continue Wednesday but, at this time, the city does not anticipate calling a snow route parking ban.
Outside of Calgary, up to 50 centimetres of snow could be expected for areas over higher elevations to the west of the city. Low visibility and blowing snow is also expected with gusty wind forecasted in the Brooks and Airdrie regions.
According to Alberta 511, area highways are also very slick on some stretches along Highway 22X , Highway 2 between Calgary and Nanton and on Highway 22 near Turner Valley.
Turner Valley received nearly 25 centimetres of snow on Tuesday, forcing many people to dig out cars or stay home for the day.
Travel is less than ideal as well on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary.
If travel outside of the city is essential, the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is advising the public to plan ahead and pack an emergency kit with things like a blanket, sleeping bag, a flashlight and some food.
AMA says drivers stuck on Alberta highways could have to wait up to 10 hours Wednesday for a tow.
For updated information regarding weather warnings and watches, visit Environment Canada – Public Weather Alerts.