Calgary’s trees mostly spared from near-record September snowstorm

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Calgary’s trees mostly spared from near-record September snowstorm


City of Calgary crews were still busy clearing sidewalks and pathways after a weekend snowstorm in Calgary on Monday, September 30, 2019.


Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia

The heavy snowfall that blanketed Calgary on Sunday brought out the city’s entire snow removal fleet to clear the streets and sidewalks.

Although a snowfall warning that had been in effect since the weekend ended, a total of 31 centimetres of snow had fallen on the city as of Monday morning.

That didn’t quite reach the single-day record for snowfall in September — 32.8 centimetres set on Sept. 19, 1968, said Environment Canada.

Troy McLeod, the city’s road director, estimates the cost of snow removal for the weekend was $1.2 million to 1.4 million, which is higher than an average snowy weekend because full crews were sent out to clear roads and pathways.

“When we experience this type of snow, we send out all our resources so it is a little higher than average,” said McLeod outside the Municipal Building.

The city’s fleet of snowplows was prepared to hit the streets before the snowfall, resulting in a faster response time.

“I think the city had an excellent response. We were in very good shape for a storm with over 30 centimetres,” said McLeod. He’s confident the city has the appropriate resources and budget to handle the upcoming winter months.

Meanwhile, the temperature was expected to drop to -9 C with frost overnight, leaving the roads icy for Tuesday morning’s commute, before the temperature rises for the rest of the week.

Calgary police reported that from midnight to 11:30 a.m. Monday, they dealt with 93 collisions on Calgary roadways, including 13 hit and runs.


Yan Huang shovels the snow off the entrance of her house in Calgary on Monday.

Azin Ghaffari /

Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Calgary

Palliser Regional Schools cancelled classes on Monday for schools south of Calgary due to snowfall. According to the Palliser Schools’ Twitter page, the closure included Arrowwood, Vulcan and Champion. Strathcona-Tweedsmuir also cancelled classes.

Southern and western portions of the city received the most snow, said Sara Hoffman, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Much of the rest of southern Alberta — including Brooks, Kananaskis, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Okotoks and surrounding regions — were under a winter storm warning over the weekend. Forty to 60 centimetres of snow was expected by Monday morning, with some parts of Alberta potentially receiving 100 centimetres.


April Maynes does her best to clear the heavy snow on Sunday.

Environment Canada has ended all weather alerts in Alberta.

City officials say they have no plans to activate snow route parking bans.

They also said there’s no fear of the early snowfall severely harming Calgary’s urban forest, said a city spokeswoman, unlike five years ago when a major dump dubbed “Snowtember” came earlier in the month.

Leaves are now at a more advanced stage of decomposition and the latest snow event will simply hasten their falling, said the official. 


City of Calgary crews were still busy clearing sidewalks and pathways after a weekend snowstorm in Calgary on Monday, September 30, 2019.

Darren Makowichuk /

Postmedia

Conditions are expected to swing back to more typical autumn fashion, with temperatures slowly climbing under sunny skies until they reach an above-average 16 C on Sunday, says Environment Canada’s Hoffman.

“Initially, temperatures will still be below seasonal, especially with all the newly-fallen snow,” she said.

Meanwhile in Lethbridge, residents were digging out from under a much heavier snowfall of up to 55 centimetres, one that had transit service cancelled, libraries closed and public swimming programs cancelled for Monday. It also caused power outages in the city’s south.

The storm even ground local politics to a halt, with the regular meeting of city council cancelled Monday.


Jones, 8, celebrates the first snow of the season by pulling his little brother Jasper, 5, on a sled in Calgary.

Azin Ghaffari /

Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Calgary

— With files from Shawn Knox and Bill Kaufmann 

[email protected]

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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