The OPP and snow plow drivers were kept busy as the first snowfall blanketed Petrolia and Central Lambton Tuesday.
A few centimeters fell in Petrolia and Wyoming but areas such as Watford and Alvinston had as much as 15 centimeters by early morning.
OPP officers responded to a number of collisions and vehicles in the ditch as the snow, which in some areas was mixed with ice pellets, began falling heavily around the time of the morning commute.
At press time, there were no injuries due to the accidents.
Police said all of the collisions were preventable if drivers had adjusted their habits to the conditions. Police ask drivers to slow, leave lots of space between you and other cars.
Road crews in Lambton County and in surrounding communities were out on the roads as the snow hit. Jim Kutyba, general manager of infrastructure at Lambton County, says the snowplows and sanders have been ready and on standby since Nov. 1 but says they were a little slower than they usually are in the heart of the winter.
“The issue Tuesday morning was because were not on our two shifts (of road crews) until Dec. 1, our patrol guys were out knowing the snow is coming, but then they had to call guys in,” he says.
By the time everyone is in and the trucks are ready to run Kutyba says it is getting to be five or six in the morning. “It takes two hours to get through the route, so then it goes into morning commute and people have to be a bit more careful.”
In towns, such as Petrolia, the roads had seen a sander by 8 am, according to Joe Adams, director of operations. “After 8 o’clock everyone was making a second round,” he says.
The snow may have caused some traffic problems, but in Lambton County it is causing a few budget problems as well. Kutyba says $1.7 million was budgeted for winter snow removal in 2013 and that money has already been spent.
Kutyba says this early snowfall will increase the snow management budget deficit to about $185,000.
But the snow headaches aren’t expected to last long; by the weekend Environment Canada is expecting the temperatures to stretch into the teens.