Calgary

Snowfall, wind warnings lifted for Banff, Jasper

A snowfall warning for mountainous areas along Alberta's western border near Banff and Jasper has been lifted.

Heavy snow had been expected along portions of the Icefields Parkway, Highway 93

A look from the Rock Isle Lake web camera at Sunshine Village on Friday morning. (www.skibanff.com/conditions)

A snowfall warning for mountainous areas along Alberta's western border near Banff and Jasper has been lifted, Environment Canada said. 

Banff and Jasper were previously expected to get 10 centimetres of snow Friday.

A later forecast, issued by Environment Canada around 4 p.m. Friday said the area near Banff is expected to receive rain or snow, which will end late evening. The area may also see snowfall of about 2 cm over sections of the Icefields Parkway and Highway 93. 

Jasper faces a 60 per cent chance of showers Friday. 

"Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult," said the public weather agency in an advisory.

"Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight."

Wind warnings were in effect throughout the southwest corner of Alberta, with gusts expected to increase to 100 km/h Friday morning. Just before 3 p.m. Friday those warnings had ended. 

Weather hampering search efforts

Weather conditions have hampered efforts to recover the bodies of three climbers from Howse Peak in Banff National Park. As of Friday, the ground search remained on hold.

The three world-renowned climbers set out on Tuesday to make the ascent. Rescue officials were contacted Wednesday when the men didn't report in.

Parks Canada visitor safety specialist Stephen Holeczi said rescuers have been able to fly over the site.

It's unclear when conditions will improve enough for the recovery operation to resume on the ground, Holeczi said in an interview Friday.

"We searched the area for quite a long time," he said. "We did see signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment along with strong evidence that the climbing party was deceased and involved in the avalanche." 

The men have been identified as Jess Roskelley from the United States and Austrian climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer. 

Officials believe it was a Size 3 avalanche, which would have been powerful enough to knock down trees or destroy a small wood-framed building.

Parks Canada officials it doesn't know when conditions will improve enough for the recovery operation.

Areas near Banff and Jasper are under snowfall warnings, and areas in the southwest corner of Alberta are under wind warnings. (Environment Canada)

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