ALBERTA

Alberta Cold Snap Creates Problems On Roads, Transit, Homeless Shelters (TWEETS)

11/20/2013 02:31 EST | Updated 11/20/2013 02:33 EST
David Trood via Getty Images

It can only be described as a biting cold and it's causing problems on roads across Alberta.

Temperatures across the province plunged overnight Tuesday, and parts of the province woke up to windchills near -40 C Wednesday morning.

In Calgary, remnants of a snowfall Tuesday afternoon, combined with a windchill hovering around -30 C, made for a slow commute for both drivers and transit riders Wednesday morning. Calgary Transit warned riders that buses on most routes were running between 10 and 45 minutes late.

It was just the latest of woes for the city's transit system, which also faced delays Tuesday evening when mechanical issues and a passenger emergency left thousands of LRT riders waiting in the freezing cold for upwards of a half-hour during rush hour.

Calgary police were warning drivers to take it easy on the roads Wednesday, after 232 crashes were recorded since 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, reports CTV.

The City of Calgary echoed the police warning, explaining to CBC Calgary the salt meant to melt ice on the roads isn't effective in such frigid temperatures.

“The thing for us, it’s all about the actual temperature of the roads, not the ambient temperature,” explained Sean Somers, spokesman for the city’s transportation department.

Instead, he said, the city is putting down a mixture of gravel and salt, but warned that bridge decks, hills and off-ramps would continue to be problem spots.

“So certainly plan a little bit of extra time, slow down and drive safe.”

Story continues below the slideshow

SO. COLD. IN. ALBERTA.

Meanwhile, Edmonton continued to get hammered by snow and cold late into Tuesday evening, leaving city crews struggling to clear city roads Wednesday morning.

Edmonton has received more than 40 centimetres of snow in recent days, double the accumulation for the average November, reports Global News, forcing the city to issue a snow-route parking ban.

"Normally, it’s nice to just get a snowfall, cleanup it up and then prepare for the next one, but, in this case, we got them back to back,” Director of Roadway Maintenance Bob Dunford told Global News.

Similar to Calgary, the slick roads have meant dozens of accident calls to the City of Edmonton, reports the Journal, with hundreds of crashes reported since the beginning of the week.

And while the cold has created inconveniences for many, it's become downright dangerous for the province's homeless, who are finding emergency shelters near or at capacity when they come looking for a warm place to stay.

Several homeless people told CBC Calgary they planned to sleep on vents blowing hot air in Calgary alleys, after they found the shelters at full capacity.

Devin Komarniski, spokesman for Hope Mission in Edmonton, told the Edmonton Journal he's seen homeless people arrive at the shelter in sneakers this week, “and you know their socks are wet.”

As a result, the shelter has asked Edmontonians for donations fo warm winter clothing - gloves, jackets, ski pants, boots, long underwear and scarves.

“The homeless already have it so tough and they have so many challenges, with this kind of extreme weather and it makes it that much harder and difficult to get to the services they need to get to,” Komarniski told CTV News.

“A lot of them are working and a lot of them are just standing in lineups all day long, so we want to keep them warm.”