Officers ‘overwhelmed’ by QEII crashes; travel on Alberta highways not …

Watch above: Today’s snow has prompted a rare travel advisory from the RCMP. Shallima Maharaj is on the QEII with an important message.

EDMONTON — RCMP advise Albertans to stay off provincial highways Thursday as driving condition are said to be very poor.

Officers say they’re overwhelmed with several serious injury collisions on the QEII in the Red Deer area specifically. While attending to one of the crash scenes, an Alberta highway patrol officer’s vehicle was struck by an out-of-control semi.

A spokesperson for Laebon Homes, located just before the 67 St. exit into Red Deer, says three of its employees helped pull the officer from his vehicle. He was then rushed to hospital by ambulance with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

A tanker truck involved in another collision nearby also rolled and was leaking fuel. Just before 2 p.m., QEII southbound was shut down at Highway 12 near Lacombe. It has since re-opened but travel is still not recommended.

Earlier in the day, Highway 16 near Edson had to be shut down due to a crash.

Calgary and surrounding areas were placed under a snow squall watch by Environment Canada. Snow squalls are described as dangerous heavy bands of snow that can abruptly turn clear skies into near zero visibility.

Avalanche warnings were also put in place in some of Alberta’s mountain parks.

A Global Edmonton viewer sent us a couple photos of the conditions on the QEII:

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This photo was captured by a motorist traveling northbound on the QEII Nov. 27, 2014.

Stephanie Palosky for Global News

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This photo was captured by a motorist traveling northbound on the QEII Nov. 27, 2014.

Stephanie Palosky for Global News

511-alberta

A glimpse at the Highway 2 conditions near Red Deer Thursday afternoon.

511 Alberta

Blowing snow has also caused poor visibility in some areas on highways north of Edmonton.

RCMP Commanding Officer, Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, recommends motorists “do not travel unless it is necessary.” Those who cannot avoid highway travel should have proper emergency clothing and equipment.

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READ MORE: 5 things to remember when driving in winter conditions

Environment Canada is expecting between 30 to 50 centimetres of snowfall to hit some regions of Alberta by Friday.

READ MORE: Edmonton and parts of Alberta dealing with major winter storm

“The winds continue Thursday night causing blowing and drifting snow across roads and highways,” said Global Edmonton meteorologist Nicola Crosbie.

“The snow should ease off by midday Friday. Temperatures drop to -27°C by Saturday morning. Windchills will be close to -35 that morning.”

WATCH: Meteorologist Nicola Crosbie has the latest weather forecast for the Edmonton area.





You can find more information on our Edmonton traffic page, and the latest on travel advisories on 511 Alberta

© Shaw Media, 2014

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