The winter is back. It will be so cold and snowy in the next few days

A student walks down a snow-covered path at the University of Calgary.  (The Canadian Press – photo credit)

A student walks down a snow-covered path at the University of Calgary. (The Canadian Press – photo credit)

The warmer-than-average temperatures that some in Alberta have been enjoying for the past few weeks will soon come to an abrupt and snowy end.

Parts of the province, including Calgary and the southern reaches, will be covered in heavy snowfall Sunday night, with up to 40 centimeters of snow likely to accumulate in some areas in the coming days.

Weather models have forecast the worst in Mountain Parks and Calgary will peak at 30 centimeters by Tuesday before easing.

However, one weather expert says it’s unlikely we’ll reach that number.

“There are certainly some forecasting models and model runs that show totals this high, but what you’re looking for is … the mean of all the different model runs,” said Kyle Brittain, a weather expert and freelance video journalist.

“Here it’s maybe only 15 centimeters [in Calgary].”

The snow is followed by a blast of cold, arctic air that will bring about the coldest temperatures in southern Alberta since December – with lows falling below -20C for most of the week before warming up again on Saturday.

Terri Trembath/CBC

Terri Trembath/CBC

Brittain explained that the snow system expected earlier in the week is what is known as a slope storm, meaning air is moving up the country’s slope and helping to increase rainfall totals along terrain such as the foothills and mountains.

“You will see the highest amounts of snow in the mountains and along the foothills where the air is being forced to rise,” he said.

Travel and road conditions will be impacted in southern parts of Alberta as the Arctic air system makes its way into the region.

Don’t expect the worst, but prepare anyway

During the colder months, crews work around the clock to respond to the snow, according to the City of Calgary. They are currently monitoring key routes and applying anti-icing materials to problem areas where necessary.

“We’re going to see quite a bit of snow here, but it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly how much,” said Chris McGeachy, spokesman for the city’s mobility department.

“We will have additional crews under contract Sunday night to help us deal with this snowfall.”

Despite the forecast, McGeachy said he doesn’t expect a snow emergency to be declared — which occurs when a heavy accumulation of snowfall of 40 centimeters or more falls over a short period of time.

“It would probably be more likely that we would issue a no-parking order,” McGeachy said.

He added that due to the differences and the range of forecasts, no decision will be made until they see what happens in the next day or two.

“You know, we’re seeing 5-10 centimetres, 10-15 and I’ve seen up to 20 centimetres. So [we] I just have to see how things develop here over the next 36 hours.”

For the latest snow removal plans, updates and alerts, McGeachy said people can visit the City of Calgary’s website.


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