Edmonton

Get ready to shovel: 'Heavy snow' to wallop central Alberta

Brace yourself for snow over the next few days as Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for central Alberta.

Weekend travellers should 'consider postponing' until conditions improve

Keep those shovels handy this week in central Alberta. You'll need them. (Michel Aspirot/CBC)

Brace yourself for snow over the next few days as Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for central Alberta.

About 15 to 20 centimetres of snow is expected in the Edmonton area as well as communities east and west of the city.

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for central Alberta. (Environment Canada)

"A slow-moving frontal system will spread heavy snow from west to east" across the central part of the province starting Thursday morning, stated the alert which was issued at 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

"This long duration snowstorm is expected to produce total accumulations of 15 to 30 centimetres by Saturday afternoon," it said.

People heading out on the highways should "consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve."

A more serious alert of a winter storm warning has been issued for two regions that could see even more snow.

Hinton and Grande Cache, as well as Whitecourt, Edson, Fox Creek and Swan Hills are forecast to get up to 40 centimetres of snow by Saturday afternoon.

Parts of the Hinton and Grande Cache region could receive in excess of 50 centimetres of snow, the alert stated.

Grande Yellowhead School Division was making arrangements Thursday to bus students home early from schools in Edson, Niton, Fulham, Wildwood and Evansburg because of "extreme weather and road conditions."

Because of the anticipated heavy snowfall, Parks Canada said it will close much of the Icefields Parkway on Friday for avalanche control work. A 120-kilometre stretch of the parkway, also known as Highway 93, will be closed between Athabasca Falls and Saskatchewan River Crossing.

It's expected to re-open Saturday evening, Parks Canada said in an information bulletin.

Along with the snow, temperatures are expected to plummet by the weekend and remain cold into next week.

The looming cold front has the Alberta Motor Association reminding motorist not to take chances with their batteries and to plug in their block heaters when temperatures drop.

"In extreme cold, calls about dead batteries spike more than any other roadside service," the agency said in a news release Thursday. 

This represents more than 40 per cent of requests, versus 26 per cent on a normal winter day, the release said.

During a snowstorm in 2017, AMA saw more battery problems in a week than it typically logs in a full winter month, it added.

"The main issue? Fully 72 per cent of Albertans don't plug in at the recommended temperature of -15 C."

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