Dangerous driving conditions persist on many Alberta highways: RCMP

Hurricane-force winds dominated parts of Alberta Monday and into Tuesday. That, coupled with rain and snow, created poor driving conditions for many Alberta highways.

According to 511 Alberta, as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, much of the central part of the province was experiencing icy and/or snow-covered roadways, with a number of jack-knifed semis causing delays.

RCMP in Leduc, just south of Edmonton, issued a towing advisory for Highway 2 from 41 Avenue to Highway 611 due to poor road conditions.

Road conditions and major incidents as reported by 511 Alberta Nov. 16, 2021. 511 Alberta

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued a number of wind warnings for the south and southwest portion of the province Monday, as well as snowfall warnings for areas west along the foothills and in the north-central zone including Edmonton.

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As of Tuesday morning, the national weather agency reported unofficial peak wind gusts of:

  • Warner: 126 km/h
  • Waterton: 117 km/h
  • Medicine Hat: 113 km/h
  • Pincher Creek: 107 km/h
  • Lethbridge: 96 km/h
  • Calgary: 89 km/h
  • Red Deer: 87 km/h

To put that into perspective, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a category 1 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of 119 to 153 km/h.

By 12:15 p.m. Tuesday the weather agency lifted the wind warning for the city of Calgary, but continued it for areas west and north, advising, “strong, damaging winds with gusts up to 110 km/h will continue for parts of Alberta today.”

There was concern initially about the potential for freezing rain in parts of Alberta depending on the temperature gradient, but ECCC said Tuesday it appears as if the icy conditions have been caused by the combination of strong wind plus snow on road surfaces.

Read more: Fog, snow, strong winds expected to dominate Alberta Monday night to Tuesday

Both the Parkland RCMP and Fort Saskatchewan RCMP issued alerts Tuesday advising motorists of poor highway conditions and recommended non-essential travel be avoided.

“Due to heavy snowfall the morning of Nov. 16, 2021, Parkland RCMP are responding to numerous collisions on all major highways.”

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The Fort Saskatchewan RCMP made a specific note to large trucks due to high wind gusts and snow creating poor driving conditions.

“Large trucks are asked to avoid commuter highways, particularly Highway 15, due to road conditions.”

More snow is still expected for parts of the province before this weather event ends.

Read more: Cold, heavy snow expected for Canada and Mexico’s World Cup qualifying match in Edmonton

As of 11 a.m. the weather agency reported between 10 to 15 centimetres of snow had already fallen in Edmonton city centre and the snowfall warning remains in place in anticipation of a total accumulation up to 25 centimetres in some areas.

Click to play video: 'First major snowfall hits Edmonton' First major snowfall hits Edmonton

First major snowfall hits Edmonton

“Strong northerly winds, with gusts up to 70 km/h, will also continue for most of the day. Visibility may be reduced in blowing snow.”

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Due to the road conditions, the city of Edmonton was forced to issue the first parking ban of the season which goes into effect Tuesday night.

Read more: Edmonton’s first parking ban of the season begins Tuesday night

Wind damage has been reported in Calgary in a number of communities.

Enmax was called to the community of Ramsey for a tent that appears to have taken out a power line.

Crews were called to the community of Ramsey Nov. 16, 2021 after reports of a tent falling on a power line due to strong wind. Global News Calgary

And the Calgary Fire Department reported being called to a couple of different homes that had carports blown into neighbouring yards.

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Strong winds in Calgary appear to have blown a carport into a neighbouring yard in Taradale Nov. 16, 2021. Global News Calgary

All of the warnings issued by Environment Canada indicate conditions are expected to improve throughout the day Tuesday.

For the latest on highway conditions visit 511 Alberta.

For the latest Environment Canada watches and warnings, visit its website.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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