How horrible has the weather in Alberta been lately?
So horrible that even NASA noticed. The planet's authority on all things space compared Edmonton's frigid temperatures to those found in the barren, frozen surface of Mars.
It was even worse in Leedale, Alta., a hamlet north of Red Deer, which according to the Edmonton Journal, was the coldest place on Earth Friday, with a temperature reading of -40 C before wind chill.
The galactically-miserable temperatures translated to mayhem in Alberta Monday morning.
Morning temperatures were slightly warmer than the province has seen in recent days, but snowfall continued to create nightmare conditions for commuters in both Calgary and Edmonton.
Calgary faced heavy snow and high winds for the Monday morning drive, making roads exceptionally icy and slow-going.
Edmonton awoke to flurries and strong winds, resulting in poor driving conditions around the capital city.
The weather adds to complications caused by last week's blizzard and extreme cold weather combination, and police and RCMP are warning drivers roads and highways in central and southern Alberta are slippery.
At approximately 2:30 Monday afternoon a fuel truck carrying 5,000 litres of diesel lost control just north of Calgary's Airport Trail on Deerfoot Trail, resulting in a minor leak. Police say they are working to transfer the fuel before righting the truck.
As well, a man in his mid-40s was killed on Deerfoot Trail after he got out of his truck on the busy road to inspect damage from a crash.
According to the Calgary Herald the man got into a crash around 12:30 p.m. and when he stepped out of his trick to inspect the damage he was struck by another vehicle that lost control.
According to CTV Calgary, Calgary police reported 241 crashes on city streets Sunday, and several major accidents continued to tie up traffic early Monday.
Highway 881 was closed due to a serious collision and all highways in the Lac La Biche area have poor driving conditions, RCMP warned on Monday evening.
Lethbridge, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Crowsnest Pass and Cardston are all under a blowing snow warning, with wind gusts expected to exceed 110 km/h in some areas.
“Persons in or near this area should be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions,” warned Environment Canada.
RCMP in Olds are also asking people to avoid Highway 2 from Red Deer to Airdrie after several crashes tied up traffic, causing major delays.
Calgary Emergency Medical Services also declared a red alert Monday morning, saying there are no ambulances available to transport patients after multiple crashes tied up all available units.
"We've received quite a number of 911 calls from medically-based complaints all within a very short span, which has caused us to deplete our units quite quickly," EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux told CBC Calgary.
However, he notes the situation is rare and shouldn't last long.
"We always have plans in place in order to free up available ambulances as soon as possible whether they are available in hospital, or units that can be deployed from other areas we can bring in from outside the city."
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"A good laugh! Nothing like a good laugh." - Cecilia Latorre via Twitter
Having a grown-up beverage to warm you up. - Ryan Bolin via Twitter
Make sure you moisturize, as the cold quickly dries out the skin. - Eric Petersen via Twitter
"Merino wool everything!" - Eric Stevenson via Twitter
I've had my @icebreakernz long johns on all week! Makes standing waiting for a bus tolerable! - Eric Stevenson via Twitter
"All food consumed must contain at least a bit of Sriracha Sauce." Hey, if you can't warm up your body you can at least warm up your belly! - Eric Domond via Twitter
"Getting outside. Nothing beats the cold better than getting bundled up and enjoying the crisp, cold air!" - Eric Petersen via Twitter
Taking a dip in a hot tub (just make sure your hair doesn't turn to icicles!) Heather Townsend-Finkbeiner via Facebook
"Stay in the house" - Brandy L Shott via Facebook
"7 layers on every body part and an extra 30mins to get dressed..." - GF Kristie via Facebook
Keep your car plugged in - Marlene Stobbart via Facebook
"Spend it in bed with your significant other?" - Neil Fotoman Young via Facebook
"3 pairs of socks, legwarmers and fleece-lined leggings underneath your jeans." - Jacquie Lycka via Facebook
"Don't let your children outside or walk to school." - Marlene Stobbart via Facebook
Check out some of the items you should keep in your emergency weather kit.
The Alberta Red Cross recommends you keep the following items on hand in case of a weather emergency...
Bottles Of Water
At least one litre per person per 72 hours.
A Change Of Clothes
An Extra Pair Of Shoes
An Extra Set Of Car Keys
Don't rely on debit and credit cards. An emergency situation may render then useless.
For flashlight AND radio
Driver's License And Personal Documents
First Aid Kit
Manual Can Opener
Medications And Prescriptions
Other Personal Items
Like razors, feminine hygiene products, etc...
According to the day's forecast, temperatures will be warmer than the province has seen in a week, with Calgary's high expected to hit -5 C and Edmonton's to climb to -4 C.
It's a sigh of relief for the province, after many areas saw wind chills plunge below -40 C late last week and into the weekend.
The weather is causing such traffic nightmares in parts of Calgary, the city is offering free towing services to several northeast communities for residents who have not been able to free their cars from massive snow drifts.
On Monday The City will be towing cars for free from streets in Taradale, Skyview, and Saddleridge. This will help us clear roads faster.— YYC Transportation (@yyctransport) December 8, 2013
“We had some pretty bad snow drifting in the northeast, and those particular communities, we will be going in and towing vehicles to the nearest safe spot, and removing snow from those streets,” transportation spokeswoman Jessica Bell told the Herald.
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