Winter arrives with a wallop in Calgary and parts of Southern Alberta

Winter is finally upon us, with the temperature forecast to plummet and a snowfall warning in effect for Calgary.

Temperatures expected to plunge to -22 C with a windchill of -26 C

Plunging temperatures are on the way, and so is a potentially heavy dump of snow. (REUTERS)

Winter is finally upon us, with the temperature forecast to plummet.

Environment Canada said up to 10 cm of snow was expected to fall on the city on Sunday, with "near-zero visibility at times."

Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday, Calgary police responded to 170 collisions, with 19 of those involving injuries and 151 being non-injury. Of the 151 non-injury crashes, police said 27 were reported as a hit-and-run.

A snowfall warning for Calgary was lifted about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, but remained in effect for the southwest corner of the province, including the Crowsnest Pass as well as the Magrath and Fort Macleod areas.

The weather system that's bringing the snow is moving down from the north, and will continue south throughout the day, hitting the Alberta foothills after passing over Calgary.

An earlier warning for the Red Deer area has also been lifted. 

The temperatures for Calgary are expected to plummet on Monday, with lows of -22 C and a wind chill of -26 C. Those chilly temperatures will linger all week, according to Environment Canada.

Disadvantaged people in the city will be especially hard hit by the cold, said Mustard Seed spokeswoman Mita Adesanya.

"We're expecting to be busier than we've been all year," she said,

"Our shelter has 370 beds and we fully expect to be at capacity so we need all the help we can get."

Donations of gloves, jackets, tuques and warm footwear are needed, she said.

"It's not easy to plan for these things but... it's better to have more than to have less."

Environment Canada is warning drivers to be cautious due to the reduced visibility and heavy snow. 

City roads spokesperson Brittany Kustra says commuters need to give themselves plenty of extra time to get where they're going.

"Crews were out there last night and early this morning putting anti-icing solution on the roads, just to take care of those slippery sections," she said.

"Crews will continue to work on the high-volume roads as the snow keeps falling before they move into bus routes and residential areas after that."

Travel was not recommend on highways around Calgary as a cold front moved in Sunday. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Coaldale RCMP responded to a fatal crash on Highway 3 at Highway 509 on Sunday afternoon. Police said an eastbound semi hauling a trailer came upon a four-vehicle crash and slowed down, but a 2003 Buick Century following behind didn't and slammed into the back of the trailer. The driver, a 67-year-old woman from Lethbridge, was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

In Red Deer, RCMP were urging drivers to stay off Highway 2 between the city and Olds, where crews were responding to multiple collisions. 

"If travel is absolutely necessary, ensure your headlights are on for improved visibility to all motorists, leave sufficient space between vehicles, slow down and exercise extreme caution," RCMP said in a release. 

Likewise, Cochrane RCMP were asking motorists to avoid Highway 1, west of Calgary, unless travel is absolutely necessary.

With files from Terri Trembath