Up to 10 cm of snow forecast for Calgary as bitter cold to last through long weekend
City has now had 15 straight days with at least a trace of snow, the 4th-snowiest February on record
Calgary's long spell of bitter cold weather is expected to last at least through the weekend, and Environment Canada says the city will also get as much as 10 centimetres of snow on Friday.
The agency is predicting five to 10 centimetres of snow during the day and another two to four centimetres Friday night, with a low of –19 C and wind chill making it feel like –29.
On Saturday, Calgary could see more periods of snow with winds gusting up to 50 km/h, making the high of –17 feel like –30, according to Environment Canada.
City crews are already working around the clock in anticipation of the snow, said Calgary Roads spokesman Chris McGeachy.
"We did actually call in some extra equipment through the night and we will have some equipment on this weekend," he said.
The city often hires private contractors to supplement city crews, especially ahead of and during big storms, he said.
"We can have up to 120 pieces of equipment on the roads running 10-hour shifts every day."
McGeachy said there no plans yet for a snow-route parking ban, but people who live on those roads should have arrangements to get their vehicles moved, especially if they're not going to be around over the long weekend.
The very cold weather makes the city's chloride mixture ineffective at melting the snow and ice, so crews are focussing instead on laying down gravel for traction, starting on the Priority 1 routes, such as Glenmore Trail and Crowchild Trail.
"We'd just like to remind people that it's winter driving out there. It's not June. It's February, and there's going to be some icy conditions," he said.
Not everyone is unhappy about the recent whallop of winter weather in Calgary.
After a slow start to the season, snow removal contractors have been quietly rejoicing in recent days, says Amy Hill, operations manager at Yardworx.
"It's a 24-hour business. We've had the sidewalk guys out today, then we'll have plow and gravel trucks out tonight and start sidewalks again tomorrow," she said.
"It just goes on and on until we're done. Then we haul some snow and wait for the next snowstorm."
Already the 4th snowiest February
Friday is the 15th day of the month and it's also the 15th straight day that it has snowed in Calgary.
That makes this February the fourth-snowiest on record, in terms of consecutive days in which at least a trace of snow has been measured by the weather station near the Calgary International Airport.
And Saturday, we'll likely see a 16th straight day of the white stuff falling, tying this February with those of 1962 and 1979 for the second-snowiest since records began.
But, if the forecast holds and the skies clear up on Sunday, we'll fall just short of the all-time record for consecutive snow days in February, set at 17 back in 1986.
This information comes from Environment Canada's historical weather data. Environment Canada defines a "trace" as less than 0.2 centimetres of snow.
For more local comparisons of various weather events, check out YYC Weather Records — a Twitter account run by computer scientist Rolf Campbell, who developed software to pull this data and highlight interesting trends.
He notes, for instance, that today could mark the largest snowfall ever recorded on Feb. 15, with as much as 10 centimetres in the forecast.
If that much snow indeed falls before midnight, it would break the previous record for this date, set at 7.6 centimetres back in 1903.