Alberta to see 20-degree drop in temps and up to 15-centimetres of snow

After an unusually warm Saturday with highs around 20C for much of the province, Alberta is about to get a weather reality check.

A cold front moving into the northern portion of Alberta is expected to track south throughout the day Sunday, forcing temperatures to plummet below freezing.

Along with the cold weather, heavy amounts of snow is forecast from the northern edge of the Rockies, down along the foothills, to the southwest corner of Alberta.

This incoming upsloping system prompted Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to issue extensive weather warnings Saturday all the way from Hinton and Grande Cache to Waterton.

“A total of 10 to 15 cm is expected to fall through the day today.”

Communities surrounding Calgary to the north, west and south — including Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks — are all under snowfall warnings as of Sunday morning.

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Snowfall warnings surround the city of Calgary to the north, west and south April 18, 2021. Global News

As of 8 a.m. Sunday, the cities of Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer are not under any warnings.

Wind gusts from the north could create temporary whiteout conditions as that snow moves in, with poor driving conditions already reported around Grande Cache first thing Sunday morning.

A camera on Highway 40 near Hinton Sunday morning shows snow-covered roads with limited visibility.
A camera on Highway 40 near Hinton Sunday morning shows snow-covered roads with limited visibility. 511 Alberta

Because this is a spring system, the majority of the snow should melt fairly quickly due to temperatures warming up by the middle of the week.

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However, as this system is expected to track in over the QEII corridor and areas along the southern foothills, ECCC warns road conditions could be temporarily affected.

“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”

The city of Calgary is anticipating between 5 to 10 cm of snow Sunday with north winds of 30 to 50 km/h.

April is typically Calgary’s second snowiest month annually with an average of 18.8 cm of snow. As of April 17, 2021, there have only been trace amounts of snow.

For a look at the current weather watches and warnings click here.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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