Central Albertans woke up to the first blast of winter Tuesday morning.
Red Deer was expected to have five to six centimeters of snow by the time the storm passed through and southern Alberta was expected to see upwards of 35 centimeters or more.
“It’s not too early for a winter storm like this. We are in mid to late October and that is usually when we see our first blast of arctic air,” said Bill McMurtry, meteorologist for Environment Canada.
Red Deerians could be seen shoveling sidewalks, brushing off their cars and driving gingerly along City streets Tuesday morning and the cooler weather is expected to continue in the near future.
“For the next few days we’re going to see unsettled conditions. We will continue to see cold temperatures into the weekend which are about 10 to 15 degrees below seasonal,” said McMurtry. “However, early next week we will see a warming trend.”
Red Deer City RCMP were also warning drivers to take caution on the road.
Officials with the RCMP said for motorists to drive according to road and weather conditions, allowing sufficient space for safe stopping, planning trips according to road and weather conditions and leaving extra time if needed; removing all snow from a vehicle ensuring visibility is 360 degrees around the vehicle; ensuring all headlights and taillights are working properly; using headlights, even during daylight hours to increase visibility and if needed, adding weight to the trunk or box of vehicle by using sand bags.
Motorists should also check tires for wear and replace with either snow or good all-season tires.
The RCMP see a dramatic increase in motor vehicle collisions when road and weather conditions deteriorate. By implementing some basic vehicle maintenance and traffic safety awareness, it is hoped that collisions will be avoided and reduced within the City of Red Deer this winter.
Also, RCMP remind motorists when approaching the scene of a collision to proceed with caution by slowing down when passing emergency services personnel working on the road and giving them room to work.
Meanwhile, as for what kind of winter Central Albertans can expect to see, McMurtry said there are no indicators to determine what type of winter season it will be.
“Sometimes we have indicators like El Nino or La Nina, but this year we don’t have anything like that.”