By Gillian Slade on February 9, 2018.
Hatters woke up Thursday to a thick blanket of snow thanks to one of the worst storms of the season.
By 9 a.m., 17 cm of snow had fallen on the north side of the city with another 10 to 15 expected, said Environment Canada.
Driving was challenging, but if it looked as though not much plowing had been done, that doesn’t tell the whole story, the city says.
“Absolutely. We’ve been out since 4 a.m. (Thursday) but due to the amount of snow and the wind, we’re getting a lot of drifting coming in,” municipal works operations manager Jeremy Petryshyn said. “We are going to maintain roads (while it is still snowing) as best we can.”
City crews were addressing snow-covered roads with seven graders, two plow trucks, eight sanders, four sidewalk machines and three crews shovelling stairs and bridges. A full complement of staff was at work, said Petryshyn.
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Snow clearing began on the first priority areas but the snow was falling so quickly crews weren’t able to move beyond those first-priority routes.
“Some of the parts of priority (No. 1) are needing to be done several times,” said Petryshyn. “We’re plowing our hills and then doing some work on priority (No. 1s) and then have to come back and revisit the hills.”
As the snow starts to taper off, the plan is to make obvious progress, said Petryshyn.
“We will continue into the late hours of the evening tonight (Thursday) 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the storm, and will be back out at 4 a.m. (Friday) again cleaning up everything that this event has deposited,” said Petryshyn.
While the north side of the city had 17 cm of snow by 9 a.m., only nine cm had been recorded at the airport, said Alysa Pederson, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
The cause of the snowstorm, experienced in a trough from Calgary to Medicine Hat, was a low pressure system from B.C. connecting with a cold high pressure ridge in Alberta, said Pederson.
“The warm air from B.C. is kind of clashing with the cold air,” resulting in plenty of snow, she explained.
It is not possible yet to say whether this was the storm of the winter, said Pederson. Weather projections suggest Alberta should be in the normal range for the next couple of weeks.
Although the temperature will still be well below zero degrees, a return to sunshine is expected today. By Saturday the high is expected to be -4C, according to the long-range forecast by Environment Canada.
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