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Winter is back in Alberta


Can you spot the rabbit covered in snow on this Calgary deck? Click on the image to see recent Prairie snow photos.
Can you spot the rabbit covered in snow on this Calgary deck? Click on the image to see recent Prairie snow photos.

Lisa Varano, staff writer

January 29, 2011 — Winter returns to southern Alberta with a blast of heavy snow and a sudden shift in temperatures.

Map shows how much more snow could fall in Alberta this weekend
Map shows how much more snow could fall in Alberta this weekend

Southern Alberta has gone from record-setting warmth to bitter cold and snow in a matter of days.

Up to 25 cm of snow could fall in southern Alberta by Sunday night as the region feels like the low- to mid-20's with the wind chill this weekend.

Calgary had already seen 17 cm of snow by Saturday evening, with a few more centimetres possible. Temperatures in the city took a swing -- from a record-breaking 13°C on Thursday to -11°C Saturday.

This change in temperature is dramatic, but it's not unusual, says Brian Owsiak, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

A big change in temperatures
A big change in temperatures

“Chinooks happen in southern Alberta fairly frequently, which results in above-seasonal temperatures. And then, quickly in behind such warm westerly winds, we can have Arcitic air masses that move in,” he says.

The result: A quick plunge in temperatures.

“Bundle up. It looks like winter is back in southern Alberta,” says Owsiak.

Cool Arctic air, combined with moist air from the Pacific, has brought southern Alberta one of its heaviest snowfalls so far this winter, Owsiak says. Travel conditions have been difficult as the wind blows the snow around, he says.

With files from Jill Colton and Andrea Stockton

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