Prairies: Travel discouraged amid "extreme winter conditions"

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

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.


  • 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


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.

Calagry Saw Some Snow

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. Even further south in Alberta, Waterton Park reported 100+ cm of snow locally.

The City of Calgary, although not one of the hardest hit areas, broke its all-time September daily snowfall record on Sunday (September 29th) after 24.6 cm of snow fell, making it the snowiest September day for the city.

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.


Travel in southern Alberta was treacherous on Sunday, with officials urging drivers to keep off the roads if at all possible through Monday.

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"Hwy conditions throughout southern Alberta are currently poor with snow continuing to accumulate and reduced visibility," 511 Alberta tweeted early Monday. "Conditions are expected to deteriorate further into Monday morning. Avoid all non-essential travel until conditions improve."

On Sunday alone, police say winter weather factored into over 170 collisions in Calgary. Police in Medicine Hat were also advising drivers to keep off the roads if at all possible on Sunday evening.

The heavy snow has also contributed to a number of flight cancellations with officials warning travellers to leave plenty of extra time.


Snowfall will begin to ease through 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. Winter strom and snowfall warnings remain in effect as snow and blowing snow continue to make for difficult travel.

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

"This very cold pattern will relax a bit through midweek, but temperatures remain below seasonal this week and into the weekend across southern areas," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.