Alberta Foothills Weather

April 8 – Spring carnage round 1

After a sleepy week, our first batch of spring goodies roared in Thursday afternoon.
15C and sunny for the morning turned into -1 and whiteout conditions by 5pm, then the chaos began.
A low was forecast to form west of here and snow was being discussed for areas north of here with us on the south edge of the precip, getting a lot of wind but no moisture south of here. That didn’t work out.
A small low formed early in the afternoon just west of here and spun off to the NE, sprinkling bits of rain around and getting things moving, but the main low came across the mountains between Cochrane and Sundre somewhere then headed southeast as it really spun up, catching southern Alberta by surprise.

Heavy snow and 40-70kmh wind started here just before 5pm then hit the QE2 at Bowden shortly afterward. Within a half hour the stretch from Innisfail to Calgary turned to frozen snot and whiteout or near-whiteout conditons. Huge pileups began all along the highway, a 50+ car mess at Olds, a 20 car crash around Airdire, propane truck rolled over, etc etc etc. By 7:30 the QE2 was closed between Red Deer and Calgary, at 8:20 a section near Ponoka was closed due to a crash, and by 8:45 the Trans-Canada east of Strathmore had been closed, with the RCMP reporting multiple crashes and stranded vehicles. No injuries I have heard of so far out of the whole deal.
Calgary seemed to get the worst of it, 90+kmh winds and heavy snow knocking out power to 50,000+ people for an hour or two and shutting the Airport down for a bit when they went dark too. Even got a report of thundersnow from Anthony in Airdire.
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The snow moved out of here by 8pm but the wind is still howling at 30-60kmh and combined with +4C there is not a lot of snow left anywhere now, roads are mostly back to dry already. I would guess we might have gotten a total of 7-10mm of precip out of this, very hard to tell as the ground was quite warm before, so a lot of it melted before accumulating. Enough to wash the dust off anyway.

Round two is on the way.
As of this writing, Monday it begins to the south and Tuesday is the day for us. 50+cm of snow from Stettler to Brooks? Move that back west a bit please. Last night there was 70cm over the foothills and Calgary for Monday/Tuesday.
I hope the models can keep it going and the system doesn’t move too far south, it’s a pretty nice setup for big snow around here. Big soggy low floating along the US border feeding juice up to us with a cold block to the northeast adding upslope flow.
Somebody is gonna get it, it may as well be us. More moisture please.

Snowstorm chaos from Global Calgary and AMA - April 8, 2010
Snowstorm blasts through souther Alberta - April 8, 2010First April snow of 2010 - April 9, 2010Not a lot of snow but a few drifts - April 9, 2010
24hour precip to 18:50z April 9, 2010Fresh April snow shows on visible satellite - April 9, 2010Home weather station readings - April 8, 2010

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