Fog, snow, strong winds expected to dominate Alberta Monday night to Tuesday

As British Columbia continues to deal with the damage caused by an intense weather system known as an atmospheric river, Alberta crews are preparing for their own onslaught of active weather.

What could be considered a textbook low-pressure system is moving west to east across Alberta Monday and into Tuesday. To the north of the low, heavy amounts of snow are expected. Along the warm front, there is a risk of freezing rain, followed by strong northwest winds associated with the cold front.

That combination is expected to create periods of poor visibility due to blowing snow.

The wind could also be a factor in creating treacherous driving conditions, with moisture on roads potentially turning to ice, depending on the temperatures.

Read more: Flooding and mudslides in B.C. wreak havoc on highways, forcing evacuations

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Much of Alberta was placed under a special weather statement, watch or warning as of Sunday, and those have only been upgraded and modified throughout the day Monday as the storm track becomes more predictable.

As of 4:45 p.m. Monday, Environment and Climate Change Canada lifted a number of their special weather statements in central Alberta and issued wind warnings instead.

“Strong winds and blowing snow for central and eastern Alberta tonight and Tuesday,” said the weather agency.

“Strong northwesterly winds with gusts of 90 km/h will develop over central Alberta after midnight, and spread east to the Saskatchewan border by morning. Visibility will also be reduced due to falling and blowing snow.”

Read more: 20-30 cm of snow expected in Rocky Mountains by Monday

Around the same time, ECCC issued fog advisories for the city of Calgary and areas north and east, stating “dense fog has reduced visibility to near zero over parts of southern Alberta.” Their meteorologists expect that fog to lift Monday night.

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A number of flights to and from Calgary International Airport were delayed or rerouted due to poor visibility Monday afternoon.

City crews in both Calgary and Edmonton have been preparing for the snow and/or ice, knowing the first big storm of the season this year will be more complicated than some based on the temperature gradient, the intensity and the moisture associated with this particular low in some locations.

Read more: 10-30 cm of snow expected for Edmonton, much of central Alberta by Tuesday

Andrew Grant with the City of Edmonton infrastructure department and his counterpart Chris McGeachy with the city roads department in Calgary both said they will have all available crews on hand and ready to work around the clock to ensure the roadways in each city are tended to as soon as possible.

Both cities have already been proactively treating the roads ahead of this weather event.

Grant mentioned in Edmonton, where there is the potential for as much as 20 cm of snow, his crews have another layer of pressure due to the World Cup qualifying game scheduled to play at Commonwealth Tuesday night.

Read more: Cold, heavy snow expected for Canada and Mexico’s World Cup qualifying match in Edmonton

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In that city, Grant said his crews will also be focusing on recreational parking facilities so that buses can have access to the stadium.

Mid-November is late for the first major snowfall for central and southern Alberta.

Both Calgary and Edmonton typically see between one and four centimetres of snow in the month of September, 10 to 12 centimetres of snow in October and between 17 to 19 centimetres of snow in November.

Read more: Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt

According to the public records from ECCC, neither city had any snow in September 2021. Calgary measured about four centimetres over four days in October while Edmonton received trace amounts, and as of Nov. 13, there had not been snow in either city so far this month.

Winter driving tips

Ryan Lemont, the manager of driver education for the Alberta Motor Association, offered some tips Monday on how to navigate situations like these where the weather conditions are ever-changing. He recommends employing the threshold braking technique — applying constant pressure to your brakes right up until your ABS kicks in.

Lemont also suggests driving to the conditions rather than the posted speed limit and allowing for plenty of stopping time.

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McGeachy said Calgarians can always get a real-time update on snow removal by going to Calgary.ca/snow.

Read more: Calgary issues call out for area kids to name the city’s snowplows

Grant asked that vehicles and people give plenty of room for crews to clear things like roads, pathways, bus stops and stairs.

For the latest Environment Canada watches and warnings, visit its website.

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