Blowing snow closes Highway 1 east of Calgary as winter blankets southern Alberta

Highway 1 east of Calgary is closed between Strathmore and Bassano because of poor driving conditions as the city and surrounding area endures an early taste of winter.

Crews working to open the route to Bassano by Tuesday morning; travel in southern Alberta not recommended

An early morning snow covers this motorcycle in Calgary's northwest on Monday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Highway 1 east of Calgary is closed between Strathmore and Bassano because of poor driving conditions as the city and surrounding area endures an early taste of winter. 

Crews opened the Trans-Canada between Calgary and Strathmore cleared Monday night. However, the route between Strathmore and Bassano was not expected to open before early morning.

The RCMP said travel in southern Alberta was not recommended.

For up to date road reports, visit 511Alberta.

A low pressure system moved over much of southern Alberta early Monday, bringing snow and strong winds gusting from 60 to 90 km/h.

Highway 3 from Taber to Medicine Hat is also closed, and travel is not recommended on Highway 3 from Medicine Hat to Coaldale east of Lethbridge, according to Alberta Transportation's road report service, @511Alberta. 

"These strong winds will combine with the falling snow to reduce visibilities in some areas," Environment Canada said in a weather alert for Calgary.

Southeastern Alberta is forecast to receive more than 20 centimetres of snow by Monday evening. Totals in Calgary will be closer to 10 cm, the agency said.

Calgary police say there were 73 collisions on city roads from midnight until about noon, four of them involving injuries. 

The city says its crews were ready for the start of winter.

"The City's Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) program plan is organized months before the winter season to account for a variety of weather conditions," Roads maintenance manager Bill Biensch said in a release.

"Under the plan, crews sand, salt and plow roads and sidewalks based on a Council-approved priority system — the more traffic there is on a roadway, the higher the priority."

Calgary and parts of southern Alberta were hit with snow Monday morning. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The city is reminding motorists to be ready for slower traffic on Monday and allow extra time to get to their destinations.

Temperatures are expected to rebound in Calgary to 15 Celsius by Wednesday and 21 C by Thursday. 

Highway 2 (Queen Elizabeth II Highway) between Airdrie and Balzac at about 7:15 a.m. Monday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)