EDMONTON - At least a dozen people were injured and one person died in car crashes Wednesday as a nasty autumn snowstorm gripped Alberta's capital region.

RCMP said a 24-year-old man from central Alberta died when he lost control of his car and collided with a van southeast of Edmonton, where roads were reported in extremely poor driving condition.

The 50-year-old man driving the van was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police added. Three passengers in the van received minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Mounties were recommending against travel for much of the day.

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In Edmonton itself, police spokeswoman Lisa Sobchyshyn said there had been at least 12 people injured and 149 property-damage collisions.

Environment Canada had predicted that the storm could dump as much as 25 centimetres on the region before tapering off and moving into Saskatchewan.

Bob Dunford, director of roadway maintenance in Edmonton, said conditions were unusual for drivers. They certainly created mayhem.

"We had the rain turning to snow, which is something that we are not used to in Edmonton," he said. "It puts that nice thick sheen on the road underneath the snow and it is a fairly wet heavy snow accumulating very quickly."

Traffic problems were compounded as buses and other vehicles tried to negotiate the slippery slopes of the river valley leading into the downtown core.

In St. Albert, just north of Edmonton, buses were pulled off icy city streets. Commuter buses were still running into Edmonton, but riders were being advised that a trip that normally takes roughly 30 minutes could take three hours.

Concordia University College, which also houses the University of Lethbridge Edmonton campus, cancelled classes for the day, and many office workers in the city were also sent home early.

Edmonton's school bus carriers predicted delays ferrying students home. And the boards at Edmonton International Airport were reporting numerous minor delays, particularly with arriving flights.

By late afternoon, the wet snow had turned to slush and temperatures were dropping.


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