Late winter storm dumps heavy snow on Calgary and much of Alberta's southern areas, Canada

Late winter storm dumps heavy snow on Calgary and much of Alberta's southern areas, Canada

Heavy snowfall engulfed Calgary and much of Alberta's southern areas on Friday, March 13, 2020, as a late winter storm moved over the province. A snowfall warning is in effect for Calgary until Saturday, March 14.

A major snowstorm blanketed much of the province, creating whiteout conditions. Highways in southwest Alberta were a mix of snow and ice, 511 Alberta reported, adding that snowplows were active in multiple areas.

According to meteorologist Alyssa Pederson, the winter storm developing in the province is a combination of two events.

First, there is a very cold arctic air being pushed up by high winds from the mountains and foothills to build snow. In addition, moisture is being added near the mountains in Montana and Wyoming, producing more snow in the southern Alberta region.

Environment Canada said snowfall with total amounts of 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 inches) is falling in Calgary as the city is in the midst of a long period of snowfall. The agency has placed a warning for the area until Saturday. 

Image credit: NOAA/GOES-16. Acquired March 13, 2020 at 22:20 UTC.

The weather bureau warned that road conditions and visibility may be affected, and areas surrounding the city, including the mountain parks, are forecast to be badly hit by the storm.

More snow is predicted further south and near the mountains, accompanied by winds of 40 km/h (25 mph) and gusts up to 60 km/h (38 mph), said Pederson. "Travelling in southern Alberta tonight and tomorrow is not recommended due to blowing snow conditions," she stated.

Much of the southern province will see January-like wintry temperatures over the weekend. "The air has come down from the Arctic so it's very cold, well below normal in much of Alberta today," Pederson added.

Environment Canada expects 40 cm (60 inches) of snow across far southwestern areas, mostly near the mountains, by Saturday evening.

Calgary will see temperatures around -19 °C (-2.2 °F) and -23 °C (-9 °F) on Saturday.

Milder temperatures are expected by Monday, March 16, with the coldest at -3 °C (26.6 °F), followed by warmer 5 °C (41 °F) toward the middle of the week. 

Pederson noted that snowfall may start melting on highways and roads, but warned that significant melts will need warmer temperatures.

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-16. Acquired March 13, 2020 at 22:20 UTC.

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