A significant stretch of road connecting Jasper to Banff is expected to be closed for several days as the area is under a winter storm warning issued by Environment Canada.
According to 511 Alberta, the provincial government’s travel information service, plans are in place to close Highway 93N from Athabasca Falls to Saskatchewan Crossing from 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
At about noon on Thursday, it’s expected the highway will be reopened from Athabasca Falls to Parker Ridge. However, it is expected that Parker Ridge to Saskatchewan Crossing will remain closed until Friday at 4 p.m.
“Up to 60 cm of new snow is expected between Tuesday, Nov 30 and Thursday, Dec. 2,” the 511 Alberta site read.
The site also noted avalanche control activities are taking place in the area.
“There is a lot of moisture making its way through B.C. right now, and we are seeing some of it make its way over the Rockies; causing these warnings,” said Global Edmonton weather specialist Phil Darlington.
He added that some parts of Alberta could see significant wind gusts this week.
“The strongest winds are expected for the southern foothills — around 130km/h — with areas to the northern end of the warnings — the Hinton, Grande Prairie area — seeing gusts around 90 km/h,” Darlington said. “Either way, they have the potential to do some damage.
“If it was a tornado, those winds would be in the EF 0-1 categories.”
Darlington noted Edmonton will likely see rain, snow and wind between Tuesday and Thursday, “but nothing like what is happening further west.”
“It’s currently raining up in Grande Prairie,” Andrew Palmer, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, told Global News on Tuesday afternoon. “(There is a) risk of freezing rain there.
“Just north of Edmonton, we expect there could be a risk of freezing rain tonight.”
Palmer added there could be a risk of freezing rain in the Grande Prairie area again Wednesday night and noted Edmonton could see a risk of freezing rain from Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
He noted there was a chance for strong winds to be felt in Calgary on Tuesday night, starting at midnight.
In its winter storm warning, of which the section of Highway 93 that is being closed is under, Environment Canada said heavy snowfall combined with powerful wind gusts will lead to reduced visibility and blowing snow.
“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” the weather agency said on its website. “Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.
“Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.”
Environment Canada said the snow is expected to taper off Thursday morning.
Palmer noted in some areas the snow will likely transition into rain.
“After this potent atmospheric river passes through, bringing up to 80 cm of snow to Highway 93, we get a small break,” he said in an email. “The next — however, it appears weaker — low will move on shore (B.C./Washington state) on Friday night (and) Saturday and will affect southern Alberta.
“There will be snow for the southern foothills for Saturday night and Sunday in an easterly flow as a low in Montana is expected to develop.”
For a complete list of areas in Alberta under a weather alert, click here.
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