Up to 50 cm of snow expected to blanket southern Alberta starting Monday morning

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It's looking more likely to be a white Christmas, with heavy snow starting to hit the Rockies near the B.C. border Monday morning and rolling east, blanketing parts of southern Alberta with as much as 50 centimetres by the end of day of Tuesday.

That includes 20 to 25 centimetres expected to fall in the city of Calgary by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Environment Canada said the pending snowfall is attributed to a strong low pressure system that will develop in Montana on Monday afternoon.

"This low will bring heavy snow to southwestern Alberta, including Banff National Park, beginning Monday afternoon," the weather agency said. "Snow is expected to persist throughout the day on Tuesday."

The agency recommended that Albertans living in the area avoid travel if possible.

Environment Canada
Environment Canada

If travel is necessary, Albertans should keep an emergency kit and mobile phone with them, and let others know where they are headed.

Some areas of the province are already seeing challenging road conditions, including on Highway 1 between Seebe and Banff National Park.

Winter storm warnings are also in effect for the communities of Okotoks, High River and Claresholm, as well as Kananaskis and Canmore.

Here's the latest Alberta weather.