Winter returns for April encore
Westlock hit with 25-centimetre dump on Thursday
Westlock residents had a double dose of winter last week.
Environment Canada reported roughly 15 centimetres of snow hit the Westlock, Barrhead and Athabasca regions on Sunday, April 1, while 20 to 25 centimetres of snow fell Thursday, April 5, leaving residents digging out their shovels and snowblowers once again.
Westlock County issued a press release on Thursday morning informing residents that crews were not available for regular snow removal duties, but for emergencies only.
“We are not doing any regular road grading or snow removal because of the conditions of the road. The road conditions are such that grading the snow would not be good for the roads,” said Westlock County public information officer Peggy Hardinge.
Hardinge said that crews were told that priority needed to be given to any fire trucks or ambulances that might require assistance.
“We needed to have the equipment available to give them access,” she said.
Schoolbuses around the region were also affected as 32 out of 75 Pembina Hills’ bus routes were cancelled due to dangerous road conditions.
“It was very chaotic actually. We did not close schools based on the information we had, and we did not cancel all routes,”said Pembina Hills transportation director Tracy Tyreman.
Tyreman said when they had originally made the calls early morning to find out weather conditions they were given thegreen light from bus drivers. But as the morning went on they learned that the roads became too dangerous.
“We rely on the drivers and if they feel that the conditions were worse than what was anticipated then they would make the call and shut it down on their own,and they have that right,” he said.
By the time a lot of the buses got to theschools in the morning there was another foot of snow that had accumulated said Tyreman.
Many parents were also forced to make alternate plans on Thursday morning fortheir children that were unable to bepicked up on the regular bus ride.
“There were a lot of kids missing like in Barrhead Elementary out of the 600 kids they would usually have in that school, about 200 were missing,” he said.
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