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Blowing snow to blast southern AB, SK

Drivers are being advised to be careful on the roads this week
Drivers are being advised to be careful on the roads this week

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

November 15, 2010 — Here comes winter. Heavy snow and gusty winds are forecast for parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan beginning Monday night.

Snowfall totals expected
Snowfall totals expected

Keep that snow shovel on standby. You'll be needing it if you're in southern Alberta or Saskatchewan.

A system developing over the Gulf of Alaska will move into Alberta during the evening on Monday. Environment Canada says that snow will develop along the northern foothills, with 10 to 15 cm expected in most regions, and up to 20 cm possible near the Cypress Hills.

“It has everything to do with the elevation,” says Patrick Cool, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “They're higher up therefore they're colder, so the snow will begin a little earlier and they're going to have a longer period of time for snowfall allowing amounts to get up to 15 to 20 centimetres. ” Cool adds to be prepared for some mixed precipitation during the overnight hours as well. Freezing rain and snow could make for a very messy and dangerous commute on the roads.

The regions of Calgary, Drumheller and Claresholm are currently expected to see 5 to 10 cm of snow. Snowfall warnings and winter storm warnings are already in effect and the city of Calgary is ready for whatever Mother Nature brings. 10 million dollars has been added to the snow clearing budget this year to help keep all residential streets safe.

In addition to snow and freezing rain, this system is also forecast to bring some powerful winds to the region. Gusts of up to 70 km/h are forecast in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. That's expected to lead to blowing snow and poor visibility on roadways.

To top it all off, both provinces will be dealing with bitterly cold temperatures.

“Cities will be plunging into the minus teens, but feeling into the minus twenties by Tuesday,” says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “You'll want to bundle up if you're heading out.”

Cooler days are on the way for the west
Cooler days are on the way for the west

Terry Clovechok is with the AMA Road Report. He says the first significant snowfall of the year can catch drivers off-guard.

“It is a surprise, and people do forget, and many haven't loaded up their vehicle with the proper clothing and a shovel in case they do get stuck.”

Clovechok says drivers need to remember to change their habits in the winter months.

“You know, all of a sudden they're doing the speed limit ... on black ice and they find themselves in the ditch,” says Clovechok. “They just have to slow down, and if it is some freezing rain or snow and the roads look a little glassy, just got to slow down a bit and pump your brakes a couple times. You can all of a sudden be into a bad situation without realizing it.”

Clovechok suggests checking the weather conditions before you head out and dress warmly.

Here is a list of items you may want to consider keeping in your car as a precaution:

  • A cell phone and recharger
  • List of important phone numbers (family, doctors, towing companies)
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Booster cables
  • Roads maps
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Blanket
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
  • Sand or salt
  • A collapsible shovel
  • Road flares
  • Emergency food pack with non-perishable food items
  • Tow rope
  • Spare tire
  • An extra pair of clothes
  • Whistle

This past weekend, a low pressure system dumped more than 25 cm of snow in parts of Minnesota and Iowa. That same storm then blanketed parts of northern Ontario, including Thunder Bay.

To stay up-to-date on the current weather conditions, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune in to The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

With files from Andrea Stockton

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