Blizzard and winter storm warnings across Alberta, Saskatchewan

Canadian Press photoBlizzard conditions have developed across southern Alberta, as an intense winter storm sweeps through the province, bringing significant amounts of snow and powerful gusts of wind along with it.

Snowplows are undoubtedly out in force to keep roads clear for commuters today. However, they definitely have their work cut out for them, as up to 30 centimetres of snow is expected across much of central and southern Alberta by Tuesday morning. Adding to that, powerful winds up to 80 kilometres per hour at times are producing a blizzard east of the foothills today, with windchills down near -30 and widespread blowing snow. Visibility is down to around half a kilometre, and motorists are advised to take caution while on the roads. Several flights into and out of the area have been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions, so travellers should check the status of their flight before leaving.

This storm pushed into southern Saskatchewan as well, starting off with some freezing rain and snow yesterday, and even ice fog in Regina overnight. Up to 25 centimetres of snow is expected to fall across the area by Tuesday morning, and gusty winds will creating blowing snow conditions, reducing visibility on the roads.

Environment Canada has issued snowfall and winter storm warnings for regions of northwestern, central and southwestern Alberta. Blizzard warnings have been called for south-central and southwestern Alberta, including Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and the City of Calgary. Winter storm warnings were originally issued for all regions of Saskatchewan south of Highway 16, however they have now been scaled back to only those along or south of the Trans-Canada (Highway 1), and the city of Regina is no longer in the warning area.

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Once this storm system has passed through Alberta and Saskatchewan, it is expected to slip down into the US Midwest and over the Great Lakes. A blast of frigid Arctic air moving down in its wake will cause already-chilly temperatures in the prairies to plummet for the rest of the week. Daily highs are likely to only reach around -10 to -15 degrees C in Alberta and into the -20s Celsius in Saskatchewan. Windchills could remain near -30 or lower across the region, continuing the risk for frost bitten faces, fingers and toes.

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