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Snow, rain and thunderstorms expected across much of Alberta this weekend

Click to play video 'Spring snow expected in parts of Alberta this weekend' Spring snow expected in parts of Alberta this weekend
WATCH ABOVE: It wouldn't be spring in Alberta without snow. Parts of the province could see upwards of 20 cm of snow. Meteorologist Jesse Beyer has the details – Apr 26, 2019

While it may be the last weekend of April and we welcomed Spring weeks ago, much of Alberta is in store for a blast of wintry weather in the coming days.

According to an Environment Canada winter storm watch issued Friday at 3:21 p.m., a “wide range of weather conditions” will smatter the southern portion of the province starting Saturday. A snowfall warning was also issued Friday afternoon for central portions of the province as heavy snow could start Friday night.

Areas included in the snowfall warning on Friday afternoon are:

  • Drayton Valley – Devon – Rimbey – Pigeon Lake
  • Spruce Grove – Morinville – Mayerthorpe – Evansburg
  • M.D. of Big Lakes near Swan Hills
  • M.D. of Greenview near Fox Creek
  • Woodlands Co. near Benbow and Windfall
  • Woodlands Co. near Carson-Pegasus Prov. Park
  • Woodlands Co. near Goose Lake
  • Woodlands Co. near Whitecourt and Blue Ridge
  • Yellowhead Co. near Edson and Sundance Prov. Park
  • Yellowhead Co. near Peers and Niton Junction

Areas included in the winter storm watch on Friday afternoon are:

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  • Kananaskis – Canmore
  • Airdrie – Cochrane – Olds – Sundre
  • Drumheller – Three Hills
  • City of Calgary
  • Okotoks – High River – Claresholm
  • Crowsnest Pass – Pincher Creek – Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Cardston – Fort Macleod – Magrath
  • Lethbridge – Taber – Milk River
  • Hanna – Coronation – Oyen
  • Medicine Hat – Bow Island – Suffield
  • Cypress Hills Provincial Park – Foremost

The spring storm is expected to start Saturday afternoon in southern Alberta, Environment Canada said, beginning with showers and possible thunderstorms. The thunderstorms aren’t expected to be strong ones, but the weather agency said it’s still possible to see funnel clouds in the Brooks and Medicine Hat region Saturday afternoon.

READ MORE: Alberta weather enthusiasts: set up a weather station in your backyard

That rain will quickly change to snow in the evening with as much as 15 to 25 centimetres accumulating around Coronation and Cypress Hills. Environment Canada said Cypress Hills could see upwards of 30 centimetres of snow fall. Pair that with a strong northeasterly wind blowing in on Saturday night and people could expect blizzard-like conditions.

“Up to 20 cm could fall in west-central Alberta by Saturday night and Calgary is expecting 5 to 10 centimetres, with heavier amounts to the west of the city,” Global News meteorologist Tiffany Lizee said.

READ MORE: Environment Canada calling for late season snowfall along B.C. mountain passes

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Snow is also expected in western Alberta with officials advising of reduced visibility and heavy snow at times.

“A quick blast of snow to the Highway 2 corridor will combine with northerly winds gusting to 90 km/h, giving possible brief whiteout conditions to the area in the later afternoon hours,” Environment Canada said.

“Over the Kananaskis region, possible snowfall accumulations may reach 20 cm starting Saturday afternoon and tapering off Sunday morning.”

Watch below: Snow could affect your weekend travel plans in Alberta this weekend. Meteorologist Jesse Beyer has more in the long-range weather forecast for Friday, April 26, 2019.

Click to play video 'Edmonton weather forecast: April 26' Edmonton weather forecast: April 26
Edmonton weather forecast: April 26 – Apr 26, 2019

Moving north, a pacific weather system will bring “heavy snow” to central parts of the province overnight Friday, which is expected to keep falling through to Sunday afternoon.

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“Snowfall totals are expected to be in the 10 to 20 cm range with locally higher amounts possible over higher terrain,” Environment Canada said. “Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations.”

“[Snowfall] totals in the Edmonton area are less certain, as the capital city will be on the edge of the system,” Lizee said. “Blowing snow will also be an issue Saturday afternoon along QEII between Edmonton and Calgary.”

The weather agency advised travellers to turn on lights and maintain a safe distance if they happen to be driving in areas of reduced visibility. They also advise people to take breaks while clearing snow to avoid strain.

To stay updated with radar and weather alerts in your area, download the Global News Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.