May 21st, 2018

If it’s not the snow, it’s the wind


By Mabell, Dave on February 14, 2018.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

dmabell@lethbridgeherald.com

Which causes more problems: new snow or drifting snow?

Southern Albertans will be seeing both this week, forecasters warn.

On Tuesday, highways became danger zones and City crews were tackling snow drifts across exposed roadways most of the day.

Later in the day, RCMP closed Highway 3 near Pincher Creek after a multi-vehicle accident. “Extremely poor winter driving conditions” were reported where the collision occurred, between Lundbreck and Pincher Creek.

The inter-provincial highway was closed, until further notice, in both directions.

Today, weather experts are calling for both wind and snow. Accumulations of up to five centimetres are expected in the Lethbridge area, according to Environment Canada, along with gusts of westerly winds.

Wind speeds may fall later in the week – but so will temperatures, with a return to overnight lows colder than -20C by the weekend.

On Tuesday, it was the west fringe of the city that saw the worst drifting. Transportation operations manager Lee Perkins says crews were busy keeping streets around Chinook High School, the ATB Centre and parts of new subdivisions – including Coalbanks, Garry Station, Country Meadows and Sunridge – open for travel.

“We have numerous contractors doing spot removal of snow drifts in and around exposed areas of the city,” he reported.

And wind-swept Scenic Drive North required constant plowing, he added.

Perkins reminded residents to call 403-320-3850 if there’s a drifted area crews haven’t reached, but advised that response times will vary with the volume of calls.

Earlier Tuesday, the city closed sections of 30 Street West due to heavy drifting. Sections affected run from Whoop-Up Drive to Aquitania Boulevard and from Garry Drive to Walsh Drive West.

Across the region, blowing snow warnings were posted for areas east to Grassy Lake and Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, north to Turin and Hays, and south to the U.S. border. Travel was expected to remain hazardous.

To the west, residents near Pincher creek faced blowing snow and with winds gusting to 100 km/h at times.

Looking ahead, forecasters at Environment Canada were calling for a sunny day here Thursday, before clouds with a 60 per cent chance of snow on Friday and then periods of snow Saturday and Sunday.

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