Wind, rain and even some snow arrives in Alberta

Wind, rain, and even some snow began falling over much of southern and central Alberta on Wednesday as Environment Canada warned wind gusts could exceed 100 km/h in some places.

Intense low pressure system prompts Environment Canada to issue wide-ranging weather alerts

Snow was falling at Lake Louise on Wednesday as a low pressure system moved over the province. (Chris Donnelly)

Wind, rain, and even some snow began falling over much of southern and central Alberta on Wednesday as Environment Canada warned wind gusts could exceed 100 km/h in some places.

An intense low pressure system moving eastward across the province is to blame for the unsettled weather, the agency said.

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," Environment Canada said on its website.

Central parts of Alberta will also likely get 20 to 30 mm of rain on Thursday, and more rain could fall in areas where thunderstorms develop.

The Environment Canada public alerts page also has wind warnings most of east-central Alberta, from Bonnyville south to Medicine Hat, and from Airdrie east to the Saskatchewan border. 

In Calgary, the wind began picking up mid-afternoon, the same time rain starting falling. Snow was also reported in northern areas of the city and was seen in the mountains to the west.

High winds forced flights departing from Edmonton International Airport to be grounded for a couple of hours and inbound flights were diverted to Calgary and other airports. That is expected to last until about 5:45 p.m.

A number of flights arriving and departing at Calgary International Airport were also delayed. 

Debris and construction sites

Since 2011, all construction sites five storeys or higher in the downtown and Beltline are required to have an advanced weather forecasting system, said Cliff de Jong, senior special projects officer with Calgary Building Services.

That gives builders 48 hours notice of severe weather to ensure materials aren't blown around by high winds.

"It's hour-by-hour wind gust prediction maximums," said de Jong. "The expectation is they keep their sites safe and free from falling debris because of winds."

The change was implemented in response to the death of three-year-old Michelle Krsek, who died when she was hit by a piece of sheet metal blown off the Hôtel Le Germain that was then under construction at 112 Ninth Ave. S.W.

The general contractor, Grenville-Germain Calgary Limited Partnership, the building's owner, Germain Residences Ltd., and the subcontractor, Flynn Canada Ltd., each later pleaded guilty to violating the Alberta Safety Codes Act.

Germain Residences Ltd. and Flynn Canada Ltd. were fined $15,000 each.

In 2012, a major windstorm that saw gusts in excess of 100 km/hr left shattered windows and debris strewn across downtown Calgary.

Protect the garden

The stormy weather could be bad news for gardeners, but there are some simple steps to protect the new plants, says Colin Hayles, a purchaser for Golden Acres Home and Garden.

5 tips to save your plants from wind and hail storms

CBC News Calgary

4 years ago
Colin Hayles at Golden Acre Home and Garden shares steps to protect your garden from Mother Nature's bad side. 0:31

"The number one tip is to get plants into shelter if possible — bring them inside, get them into a garage," he said.

"If that's not feasible then get them staked, get them braced. Do something to your intermediate trees and your tomatoes and peppers and your taller veggies ... And any hanging baskets, get them down and get them inside if possible."

The bad weather isn't forecast to stick around for long. Calgary's outlook calls for sun and highs of 20 C and 22 C on Friday and Saturday.

As of 4 p.m., the red areas are under a wind warning by Environment Canada and the grey areas are under a special weather statement, warning of wind, rain and possible snow. (Environment Canada)
  • Have pictures or videos of the dramatic weather? Send them to or tweet us at @CBCCalgary.
  • Here are some pictures readers have shared so far:
Ominous clouds above the Climb Thru Time Museum in Paradise Valley, Alta. on Wednesday morning. (Kiera Sunderland)
Snow was falling at Lake Louise on Wednesday. (Chris Donnelly)
Environment Canada says an intense low pressure system that started moving across Alberta Tuesday will bring high winds Wednesday and as much as 30 mm of rain in many places. (Cosmo Skotniski)