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Winds of up to 167 km/h blast southern Alberta, toppling vehicles and ripping siding from home

Environment Canada has issued alerts about strong and potentially damaging winds over a swath of southwestern Alberta, amid reports that gusts of up to 167 km/h and overturned vehicles affecting traffic on some highways.

Travel not advised on Highway 22 between Highway 3 and Longview

Strong winds ripped the siding off this home near Claresholm on Thursday. (Submitted)
Environment Canada has issued alerts about strong and potentially damaging winds over a swath of southwestern Alberta, amid reports that gusts of up to 167 km/h had blown over vehicles on several highways and ripped the siding from buildings. 

As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, there were wind warnings in effect for areas around Okotoks, Kananaskis, Pincher Creek, Cardston and Nordegg.

Environment Canada issued wind warnings for several parts of southwestern Alberta on Thursday. (Environment Canada)

"Strong winds with severe and damaging gusts are expected or occurring," the agency said in its alert covering Cardston, Fort Macleod and Magrath. 

Winds of 167 km/h were recorded north of Waterton Park Gate on Highway 6, while wind speeds of 154 km/h were recorded on Highway 22 north of Lundbreck.

Fort Macleod saw wind speeds of 128 km/h and Pincher Creek saw 111 km/h winds. 

The Alberta Emergency Alert system issued a storm bulletin Thursday afternoon, saying that there are downed trees and power lines in the Fort Macleod area.

Vehicles blown over on Highway 2, Highway 22

Crowsnest Pass RCMP say several large vehicles have been blown over on Highway 2 and Highway 22.

An overturned semi-trailer briefly forced the closure of Highway 22 in both directions from the intersection with Highway 533 by Chain Lakes Provincial Park south to Highway 3 by Lundbreck.

RCMP are still advising against unnecessary travel on Highway 22 between Highway 3 and Longview because of the strong winds.

Travel isn't recommended for any large, light vehicles such as RVs and empty tractor trailers.

Winds are forecasted to weaken Thursday evening but may strengthen again on Friday. 

Environment Canada is also cautioning drivers to take precautions because of the high winds.

Banff and Jasper national parks are under snowfall warnings with total amounts of about 25 centimetres expected, and up to 40 cm in some locations, including along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93).

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