Valerie Fraser and her husband Steve were on their way to Calgary to see the Pearl Jam concert last night when they got stuck on the highway. Submitted by Valerie Fraser
Plows and graders are chugging along Calgary streetstoday as the blizzard that set in yesterday continues to hammer the city and region.
Despite overnight work from road crews,travel around the city is still challenging, say city officials.
The blizzard warning for the city has been lifted, but snow is still falling and the city could see at least another two centimetres, according to Environment Canada.
Roads in residential areas in particular are troublesome, as many have not seen a plow come through since the storm hit Monday, said Jessica Bell of Calgary`s transportation department.
For those who need to travel, Calgary police suggest using major thoroughfares only.
"We`re focused on those Priority 1s according to our seven-day snow plan. We work on those until the snow has stopped," said Bell, referring to main roads versus neighbourhood roads.
"We`ll get to the Priority 2s after those have been cleared up, about 24 hours after the snow stops."
The city issued a snow route parking ban advisory Tuesday. The parking ban will begin at 9 a.m. MT Wednesday.
Under the policy, parking is restricted on designated routes for 72 hours, or until the city announces the ban has been lifted. Snow routes include major roadways, collector roads and most bus routes, and are marked by blue signs with a white snowflake icon.
Calgarians can check the city`s website to find out if their street has been designated a snow route.
Over 200 crashes reported
Calgary police say that in the last 24 hours, they have responded to over 200 crashes, 24 that involved injuries.
"Our units were responding all night to people that were stranded, as well as helping them out when they ended up having accidents,” said Duty Insp. Guy Baker.
Police are recommending people stay off the roads.
Calgary Transit is warning about detours and recommend commuters check their website before heading out Tuesday morning.
Most Calgary schools are open, but there is no school bus service.
At least 50 WestJet and Air Canada flights have been cancelled so far this morning at Calgary International Airport.
Highway drivers stranded
The Trans-Canada Highway is now reopen.
It had been shut down between Calgary to Brooks, Alta. Overnight, Strathmore volunteer firefighters rescued stranded motorists caught in the whiteout conditions.
Valerie Fraser and her husband were on their way to see Pearl Jam in Calgary on Monday night when they got stuck about 12 kilometres west of Strathmore. Strathmore is about a 40-minute drive west of Calgary.
The pair, who live in Medicine Hat, Alta., spent a sleepless night inside their car, said Fraser.
"It was a little nerve-racking because you don't know what's going on, are you going to move. You want to make sure you're awake. You don't want to miss the call to move forward. So hopefully we'll make it into Strathmore and be able to sleep a few hours before we maybe venture out back to Medicine Hat."
They came to a stop at 5 p.m. MT Monday, and have since tried to pass the time by listening to Pearl Jam and talking with family and friends.
She says the highway has plenty of large snowdrifts that formed overnight.
The highway may open at some point later today.
In central Alberta, Red Deer opened an Emergency Operations Centre. It was activated to co-ordinate a response to the storm. Crews worked through the night to clear roads deemed inaccessible to emergency vehicles.
A blizzard warning was still in effect for some parts of southern Alberta, including Lethbridge, as of 9 a.m. MT.
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