Summer snowfall creates ‘chaotic commute’ in southern Alberta

Summer snowfall creates ‘chaotic commute’ in southern Alberta

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 10:57 AM – “Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.”

Despite the fact that it’s officially still summer, that’s the latest warning from Environment Canada early Wednesday as accumulating, drifting snow has resulted in deteriorating driving conditions.

“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas,” EC says.

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“Snow is drier and more susceptible to blowing, drifting and not melting on contact with roads,” adds The Weather Network’s Chris Murphy.

Several people took to Twitter Wednesday morning to report the messy conditions on the roads.

“Roads are super slick, drive slowly and carefully!,” one Albertan said.

“It is so messy and the slush pulls u in every direction,” another Weather Network fan tweeted.

Snowfall warnings remain in place for parts of southern Alberta, including the City of Calgary, as the first significant snowfall of the season blasts the region.

“This afternoon temperatures will remain a degree or two away from freezing, but with upper level temperatures even cooler with the arctic air mass and strong high pressure nearby, snow that does fall will have a greater chance at sticking on the ground,” says Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg. “Snow will be lighter and fluffier than what it has been with higher snow to water liquid ratios.”

Snow will continue to fall throughout the day before tapering through the evening hours.

City crews have also been working around the clock to manage any fall/damaged trees from the early snowfall.

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“Due to the recent and anticipated overnight snowfall, the City of Calgary has been working to manage concerns regarding fallen/damaged tree limbs, including damage assessment and tree removal,” city officials said in a press release Tuesday. “Trees that pose a risk to public safety will be the main priority. Currently 311 is experiencing higher than normal call volumes and we appreciate your patience as we work to prioritize our efforts.”

“There are a number of power outages (mostly branches falling on lines),” tweeted Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Wednesday morning. “@ENMAX is aware and working hard.”

Approximately 30,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm. 

In addition to power outages, downed trees and poor road conditions, the summer snow storm is impacting air travel as well. 

Air Canada issued a travel alert for Calgary airport warning travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. 

“Extreme southwestern Saskatchewan could see some snow in the higher elevations today as well,” Sonnenburg says. “Temperatures will slowly start to rebound after today and by Sunday, Calgary could be looking at temps in the low 20’s once again.”

Four things you need to know about Wednesday, September 10 The Weather Network presents extended active weather coverage in Alberta and Ontario YOUR PHOTOS: Summer snowfall blasts Alberta Quiz yourself: Seven interesting facts about SNOW

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