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Prairies: Travel discouraged amid "extreme winter conditions"

Monday, September 30th 2019, 5:30 am - RCMP recommends postponing non-essential travel across southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan as road conditions deteriorate.

The final weekend of September looked a lot more like mid-winter across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the snow isn't over yet. Some spots are already buried in drifts a metre deep, and more is on the way as the storm lingers into Monday. Gusty winds have also made travel dangerous in blizzard-like conditions across much of the region, prompting the RCMP to discourage travel, even on major roadways. We look at what's fallen so far, and what's still to come, below.


WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moderate to heavy snow continues across region through early Monday
  • Strong wind gusts spur blizzard-like conditions
  • Hazardous travel conditions across southern Alberta/southern Saskatchewan; postpone non-essential travel
  • Stay up-to-date on the ALERTS in your area

WATCH BELOW: TIMING THE STORM THROUGH MONDAY

IN PHOTOS: Snowy scenes in Alberta as potentially record-breaking snow continues

The calendar may still say September, but you wouldn't be able to tell across much of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Sunday was another long, snowy day, not just in extreme southern Alberta, but as far north as Red Deer and Saskatoon, and as far east as Regina by Sunday evening, as a Colorado low south of the border funnelled additional moisture into the region.

ABTotals

In addition to official snowfall totals from Environment Canada, amounts in excess of 50 cm were being reported by residents in Lethbridge by early Sunday evening, with 20 to 25 reported in southwestern Saskatchewan.

Heavy, wet snow started to bring down tree branches across parts of southern Saskatchewan by Sunday afternoon. SaskPower has reported outages in the Assiniboia area due to downed power poles, while area residents took to Twitter to report power outages in Moose Jaw.

TREACHEROUS ROADS, TRAVEL DISCOURAGED

Travel in southern Alberta was treacherous on Sunday, and officials urged drivers to keep off the roads if at all possible. "Extreme winter driving conditions have been reported across southern Alberta," 511 Alberta said in a statement. "Travel is not advised south of Highway 1, between both the eastern and western borders of the province, due to poor visibility and heavy snowfall within this region. An Environment Canada winter storm warning remains in effect. Postpone all non-essential travel. If you must travel, ensure your headlights are turned on, reduce your speed, and share your travel plans with others."

Police in Medicine Hat were also advising drivers to keep off the roads if at all possible on Sunday evening.

WHAT'S STILL AHEAD

Snowfall will begin to ease overnight into Monday for southern Alberta, though Monday morning commutes will still be a challenge. Some southern Alberta school boards were already starting to report closures by Sunday evening. The University of Lethbridge also announced via Twitter that it will be closed on Monday.

PRSnow (3)

Snow will lift north across southern Saskatchewan into early Monday, with some mixing of rain and snow possible through the overnight before precipitation turns back to snow for Monday afternoon. Snow will taper off there through Monday evening.

WATCH BELOW: SEPTEMBER SNOW CATCHES CALGARY VACATIONERS OFF GUARD

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