Albertans wake up to heavy snow, ‘second winter’ Saturday
We were warned “winter is coming” and Mother Nature certainly delivered.
Despite it being nearly May, much of Alberta woke Saturday to a wintry blast of weather and, in some areas, over a dozen centimetres of snow.
Environment Canada issued a winter storm watch Friday afternoon.
A snowfall warning was also issued Friday afternoon for central portions of the province warning of heavy snow starting Friday night.
A snowfall warning was issued for other areas, including the city of Edmonton, on Saturday morning. Snowfall totals are expected to be in the 10- to 20-centimetre range. Environment Canada said the heavy snow will taper off Saturday night, except in the southern foothills, where snow could linger into Sunday morning.
“We can’t complain. This happens every year. This is not unusual,” Global Edmonton weather specialist Kevin O’Connell said.
By 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the snowfall warning for Edmonton had been lifted.
Calgary, meanwhile, was upgraded to a winter storm warning just after 4 a.m. Saturday. That means hazardous winter conditions are expected, including scattered thunderstorms, heavy snow, strong northerly winds, blowing snow and local whiteout conditions.
In Calgary, snowfall amounts could total between 10 and 20 centimetres, while the foothills and Cypress Hills area could see 30 centimetres. Gusty north winds could peak in the 80-90km/h range.
“Heavy snow will taper off overnight and Sunday morning,” Environment Canada said.
The winter storm warning in Lethbridge/Medicine Hat was upgraded to a blizzard warning just before 9 a.m. Saturday, with poor visibility in snow and blowing snow occurring.
As of 10 a.m. Sunday, alerts had been lifted in all but three areas of the most southeast corner of the province. At that time, blizzard warnings were still in place for Cypress Hills, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat regions.
For the latest weather alerts, check Environment Canada’s watches and warnings page.
RCMP warned drivers in southern Alberta, namely in Beiseker, Cochrane, Airdrie and surrounding areas, to slow down in a news release citing multiple collisions at 7:30 p.m.
“Zero visibility and blowing snow is being reported on multiple highways including Highway 2 corridors,” it read.
The spring snow is not all bad. In fact, many farmers are welcoming the precipitation.
“It’s been fairly dry,” said John Guelly, a farmer near Westlock. “You know, central areas, the moisture’s probably adequate right now for crops to be seeded, but the further you go south, the drier it gets.”
Guelly is also chair of Alberta Canola Producers.
“I think we’d be happier about rain than snow in the most case, but in some cases, beggars can’t be choosers, so we’ll take any kind of moisture we can get.”
Guelly said if there’s not enough moisture in the soil, seeds won’t germinate. He said most farmers in the Westlock area haven’t started seeding yet but in southern Alberta, seeding has likely been going on for a couple of weeks already.
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“I know from talking to another farmer down there earlier today, he said he’d give his left leg if he could get a foot of snow.
“The snow right now is really a great thing for any areas that are dry whatsoever,” Guelly added. “Southern Alberta, they’ve been seeding for a couple weeks now and they’re seeding into powder down there. They really need some sort of moisture and they would certainly welcome having this snow.”
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