Air masses do battle in Alberta as snow and spring warmth take stage

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

Alberta will see a stark weather divide across the province Tuesday, with warmth and dry conditions in southern sections and snow and chilly temperatures in the north

It’s been a long wait for spring for much of the Prairies but a burst of warmth will finally make its way into parts of the region this week.

In Alberta, there will be a sharp north-south temperature divide as some communities in the southern portion of the province saw their first 20°C reading of the year on Monday. In contrast, northern and central Alberta communities will see wet snow and chilly temperatures.

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The vast temperature divide is due to a ridge of high pressure pushing warmth up toward much of the southern portions of the Prairies, while a low-pressure system will bring heavy snow into the north, specifically around the Rockies.

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In the south, the cities of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat will see 16°C and 18°C on Tuesday, respectively. High winds can be expected throughout the day on Tuesday, with widespread, westerly gusts of 50-80 km/h in much of the south before weakening on Wednesday.

In the north, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has issued a snowfall warning from Jasper to Banff.

The snowfall will continue throughout the day Tuesday and taper off to flurries by Wednesday morning. Areas around Banff could see between 15-20 cm of snow and areas around Jasper could see between 20-30 cm. Edmonton could see a few centimetres of snow, while Calgary has the potential to see a trace of snow.

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"Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult. Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions," ECCC says in the warning.

This is a classic spring setup as snow is not unusual for Alberta in April, however, the warm temperatures in other parts of the province will make many wonder when they will finally see spring arrive.

Looking ahead, temperatures will be cooler towards the end of the week for much of the province.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecast updates on the Prairies.