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Drivers rescued from snowy Alberta highway

Not going anywhere. Firefighters in Strathmore, Alberta, try to free a truck.
Not going anywhere. Firefighters in Strathmore, Alberta, try to free a truck.

Lisa Varano, staff writer

January 10, 2011 — More than 100 vehicles abandoned or stuck on Trans-Canada Highway east of Calgary during whiteout.

Too much to shovel. Lethbridge, Alberta.
Too much to shovel. Lethbridge, Alberta.

Several drivers were stuck in the cold overnight on a snowy Alberta highway after running into trouble during a whiteout, says the RCMP, which had to rescue some of the motorists.

Strong northerly winds blew heavy snowfall across the Trans-Canada Highway from Strathmore to Calgary on Saturday.

“We've had numerous vehicles -- probably 100 or more -- of the road there. We've been rescuing people from those vehicles,” says RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb in Alberta.

A woman died a in multi-vehicle crash in Strathmore involving a Greyhound bus, three semis, and six cars. She was a passenger in one of the cars.

Webb says other vehicles were abandoned or stuck in ditches or on the shoulder of the road. “We actually have our RCMP members following the snowplows, checking vehicle after vehicle, just to make sure that there's nobody in those,” he says.

Thigh-high snow. Brooks, Alberta.
Thigh-high snow. Brooks, Alberta.

Stranded motorists took shelter on Saturday night in a gymnasium in Strathmore, about 40 km east of Calgary.

The motorists had the chance to drive to Calgary on Sunday, when westbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway reopened. The highway was completely reopened Monday afternoon.

The winter storm that brought heavy snowfall to Alberta and Saskatchewan over the weekend was losing its grip on Sunday. In the storm's wake, bitter cold is flowing into the Prairies, causing wind chill values close to -30.

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