February 12, 2018 10:52 pm
Updated: February 13, 2018 9:22 pm

Southern Alberta slammed by ‘extreme cold and blowing snow’

On Tuesday, much of southern Alberta was facing a first for this winter season: a blowing snow advisory. Quinn Campbell reports.

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A day after much of southern Alberta was put under either a wind warning or blowing snow advisory — or both — the RCMP said Tuesday afternoon that Highway 3 had been completely shut down in both directions between Pincher Creek and Lundbreck as a result of treacherous driving conditions.

In a news release, police said officers had been called to multiple crashes because of “extremely poor winter driving conditions.”

On Tuesday evening, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 issued an emergency alert about the winter storm in which it told drivers travel was not recommended in the area because of icy roads and reduced visibility.

Officials said Highway 3 was closed between Highway 6 and Highway 22 because of a crash. They added travel was not recommended on Highway 3 between Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek.

On Tuesday night, the RCMP also warned drivers that all roads outside Fort Macleod were extremely icy and seeing powerful wind gusts. Drivers were also asked to avoid Highway 23 for the same reasons.

The Alberta government issued an emergency alert for Cypress County Monday evening to say visibility had been greatly reduced and that “extreme cold and blowing snow is creating hazardous driving conditions.”

The alert warned visibility was poor on roads throughout the county and that “high winds and blowing snow is expected throughout the duration of the evening.”

An extreme cold warning was also issued for for parts of Cypress County on Monday afternoon.

“Poor conditions in blowing snow will continue until this evening in the Medicine Hat and Cypress Hills regions,” Environment Canada said on its website. “For the Lethbridge, Cardston and Pincher Creek regions, poor conditions will persist until late Tuesday afternoon when winds begin to gradually diminish.”

The weather agency also said some areas could see westerly winds with gusts speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour developing overnight. The strong winds were expected to begin subsiding on Tuesday evening.

A map of Alberta. Areas marked in red were under a weather warning as of 8:30 p.m. on Monday night while areas marked in grey were under a blowing snow advisory.

CREDIT: weather.gc.ca

Drivers were being asked to be particularly careful with the warnings and advisories in place.

Environment Canada issues blowing snow advisories when winds are expected to generate blowing snow, giving poor visibility to 800 metres or less for at least three hours.

The weather agency’s wind warnings also incicated powerful wind gusts could cause damage to buildings and cause injury or damage by tossing loose objects around.

For a complete list of areas in Alberta under a weather warning, watch or advisory, click here.

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