There’s nothing worse than that first icy slap.
Calgarians have been spoiled with balmy temperatures more reminiscent of late September, but get ready for Mother Nature to kick it up a notch.
A low pressure system could bring five centimetres of snow to the city before this evening, with as much as seven or eight centimetres forecast for the Kananaskis region.
The good news? The snow is unlikely to linger, said Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Stifora.
“Initially you’ll see it accumulate on the grass and there may be some slushy stuff at higher elevations, like in the northwest” quadrant of the city, Stifora said.
City officials say they’ve been prepared since September for any winter-like weather, with more than 100 graders, plows and snow blowers ready to hit streets today.
“We’ll get out ahead of the storm,” said Tara Norton-Merrin, a spokeswoman for the city’s roads department. “A lot of the time it’s just putting down anti-icing agents on bridge decks and other trouble areas.”
Pavement temperatures will probably stay above the freezing mark, which means much of the snow will melt on contact, Norton-Merrin said.
“Having said that, we’re monitoring the situation. . . . If the snow does start to accumulate and road temperatures dip below zero, our trucks are stocked with salt,” she said.
But if city trucks and sanders are prepared for fall’s first snowfall, many Calgarians are not.
Service staff at local shops spent much of Thursday fielding calls from vehicle owners desperate to get winter tires installed.
“The phone’s been going all day,” said Ralph Schulz, president of Pro Tire. “The same people always wait until the first snowfall. You’d think they would learn after the few couple of times but I guess it’s human nature.”
The first snowfall inevitably means more traffic accidents on Calgary streets as drivers fail to adjust to the new road conditions.
Those collisions are easily avoidable, said Alberta Motor Association spokesman Don Szarko.
The most important thing, Szarko said, is to slow down.
“Winter weather usually catches Alberta drivers by surprise. I don’t know why. If you live here, you know it’s a four-season province,” he said. “But every year, it seems to take the first couple of snowstorms to realize they can’t drive like it’s summer or spring.’”
There is a silver lining: the weekend weather forecast offers a sunny respite.
Stampeders fans can expect relatively tolerable temperatures Saturday at McMahon Stadium for the final game of the 2011 Canadian Football League regular season.
“It will be a bit cool but still a good day for football. Look for highs of zero or even plus one for Saturday afternoon,” said Stifora.
Provided by the Calgary Herald,Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Story+gallery+First+snowstorm+season+hits+Calgary+slows+commute+photo+like+share/5654456/story.html#ixzz1cl2jOGl9