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Monday's snow squall stranded some motorists; killed, injured cattle in rollover

Blowing snow the night of Jan. 17 created poor visibility and driving conditions along Hwy. 2 near Olds, Alberta.

OLDS — Emergency crews responded to several incidents on highways in the Olds area as a result of a severe winter storm the night of Jan. 17. 

Traffic on Highway 2 was initially stopped earlier in the evening, and then rerouted to Highway 2A when the rescue operation commenced. Highway 2 and Highway 27 were closed while the work was underway. 

Among those incidents was a rollover involving a semi-trailer loaded with calves. 

“Conditions experienced were so extreme that it delayed the timely management of the incident, due to zero visibility, extreme wind and cold,” Olds Fire Department Chief Justin Andrew wrote in a news release. 

“The majority of the livestock were able to be rescued from the trailer, but some perished from the result of injuries,” he wrote. 

Eighteen firefighters, along with three police officers, were on the scene for about 10 hours managing the incident. No injuries to people were reported. 

A local veterinarian was called to the scene to assist in the assessment and care of the animals affected as well as to ensure that the humane care of those critically injured could occur quickly. 

Many local individuals and organizations, along with Olds RCMP and the RCMP livestock unit, were called to help rescue and transport the cattle. 

“These individuals provided invaluable assistance to emergency crews in the efforts to safely manage the cattle rescue operation for most of the night,” Andrew wrote. 

A reception centre was established in Olds for motorists who were stranded, and the Didsbury Fire Department helped get people off the highway into Olds. 

The Olds Fire Department expressed appreciation to the following for their invaluable and timely assistance: Olds Auction Mart, Olds Regional Exhibition, Buck Thompson, Darren, Rachael and Darine Pavan, Roger Ruby, Yde Rinsma, Dr. Curtis Luzi, and Volker Stevin crews.

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