After a relatively mild season so far, Mother Nature is set to close out 2018 with a wake up call: winter is coming and it is going to get really cold.
“[Saturday night] we’ll see more snow and blowing snow with wind gusts up to 70km/h,” Global Edmonton weather specialist Kevin O’Connell said.
“The wind will also create wind chill values near -25 C. Sunday will be windy again with temperatures dropping to -16 C in the afternoon and wind chills near -27 C.”
Areas across Alberta could see 15 to 25 cm of snow by Sunday morning, according to Environment Canada. The agency issued a snowfall warning for northern Alberta and some mountain parks on Friday.
The national weather agency expanded the warnings across much of Alberta on Saturday, and also issued wind warnings and blowing snow advisories.
O’Connell said the beginning of the week will bring frigid temperatures.
“Sunday night into Monday morning will be our coldest night of the holiday season, with temperatures near -25 C and wind chills near -35 C, which creates a risk of frostbite.”
O’Connell said temperatures for New Years Eve in Edmonton will be steady around -15 C. “So dress up warm if you’re heading out to a NYE party. New Years Day will see temperatures back above normal for the rest of the week.”
Environment Canada said a low pressure system is moving through Alberta and strong winds associated with the low will also cause reduced visibility due to blowing snow.
The low pressure system moved into northern Alberta on Saturday, bringing heavy snow to the higher elevations in the Banff and Jasper national parks. Along the Icefields Parkway, Highway 93, 10 to 20 cm of snow is expected by Sunday morning.
“Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”
However, Environment Canada said in the mountain parks, significantly less snow — four to eight cm — was forecasted for the Banff and Jasper townsites themselves.
In northern Alberta, the weather agency said “strong winds associated with the low will also bring the risk of greatly-reduced visibility in blowing snow.”
The weather agency issues snowfall warnings when “significant snowfall” is expected.