Brutal Spring Blizzard Leads To 70-Car Pileup In Canada

There are many places in the world that could legitimately stake a claim to having the world's weirdest weather, as some days residents just never know what they're in store for.

Southern Alberta, in Canada, certainly qualifies as it definitely sees all four seasons, sometimes all in the same day. The area is famous for its chinooks, which bring warm winds that thaw out harsh winter days seemingly at random. But, to be fair, winters there are typically quite brutal, so even a modest relief would be welcome.

Southern Alberta's weird weather was on display once again recently, as a dry spring day brought widespread grass fires, only to be replaced by a sudden, awful return to wintry conditions.

It's hard to believe it's officially spring when the weather churns out conditions like this.

Rather than soft showers that get you thinking about an afternoon in the garden, people just trying to go about their day in the prairies had to deal with heavy snowfall and howling winds — gusting up to 100 km/h (about 60 mph) — that reduced visibility to near zero.

For a taste of the conditions, check out the attached video — there are gas pumps there; you just can't see them until about the 10-second mark.

So it's not much of a surprise that traffic was brought to a grinding halt.

There were multiple reports of transport trucks that had been either overturned by high winds or that had slid off the road and jackknifed on highways around the province, and that brought traffic to a standstill on the Trans-Canada Highway.

And, as CBC reported, up to 70 cars were involved in a pileup on a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway near Brooks, Alberta.

The whiteout conditions hampered relief efforts as well.

"Travel on area highways is not recommended at this time due to blowing snow, icy roads and poor visibility," the RCMP said in a statement, per the CBC.

It was unclear at the time of writing whether any injuries had occurred in the pileup, but given the state of the weather, it's a dangerous situation regardless.

Authorities expect it will take several hours for traffic to clear.

And so they've had to set up a makeshift reception area in nearby Brooks — population 14,000 — for any stranded travelers who need warmth and rest, and would prefer not to wait it out in their cars.

The good news is that Alberta residents can at least expect a return to their regularly scheduled spring.

In typical fashion, this blast of winter won't last. Forecasts call for temperatures to bounce back up to 13 C (about 55 F) in Calgary by Wednesday.

h/t: CBC