Biggest snowfall in six years blankets Edmonton
Jessica Earle, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Saturday, December 5, 2009 6:52PM MST
In the wake of our city's largest snowfall since 2003, CTV takes a look at how Edmontonians are doing with snow clearing, outdoor activities and the challenge of driving on tricky roads.
Project Snow Clearing
From major routes to driveways, locals have their work cut out this weekend after the capital region's first major blast of winter weather.
On Friday 16 centimetres of the white stuff blanketed Edmonton streets, followed by another seven centimetres on Saturday.
The city hopes to have all arterial and bus routes cleared by Monday's rush hour, and as of midnight on Sunday it will dedicate more than 250 plows and graders to the cause.
Still Bob Dunford, the general supervisor of roadway maintenance, says continuing snowfall and wind are creating challenges.
"We keep seeing [workers] plow the same snow cause it's blowing in on us all the time," he said.
"It's been quite and interesting storm."
One local resident out shoveling sidewalks tells CTV News he's taking the Alberta weather in stride by lending a helping hand and looking at the bright side.
"You just gotta do what you gotta do. The community needs help so we've got help everyone out," said Kevin Martin, who spent his afternoon helping clear a neighbour's driveway after tackling his own.
"It's not that bad, it's nice to see before Christmas. Kids are happy, they want to come out an play in the snow."
Snowfall Winners and Losers
At least one place where people are celebrating the dump of white stuff is on the ski hill.
Snow Valley, which has been open for a few weeks after making its own snow, is enjoying a surge in numbers.
"It's really good, it actually gets people out here because they actually think there's snow on the hill, you know?" said the hill's assistant general manager Murray Sugden.
The weather thwarted the outdoor plans of about 500 runners on Saturday, however. Unlike its Calgary and Lethbridge counterparts, the annual Edmonton Santa Shuffle Fun Run & Elf Walk down at Hawrelak park was cancelled.
Organizers of the event, which is a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, say they will meet with city officials on Monday to see about rescheduling the race.
Update on Commutes
Edmonton Police report the severe weather did cause a number of fender benders on Saturday, but say there is no word of serious injury collisions in or around the city.
Alberta Motor Association, meanwhile, says wait times for a tow dropped from an average of three hours on Saturday morning to two hours by the afternoon - not too much longer than its typical quote time of 90 minutes.
Outside of Edmonton, the main corridor running down to Calgary is once again open, but RCMP are advising motorists stay off the highway unless travel is urgent; the Queen Elizabeth II was shut down between Red Deer and Airdrie on Friday night after a number of collisions were reported and road conditions in the area are still poor.
-With Files from CTV's Bill Fortier