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Mammoth Snowstorm In Alberta Forces People To Take Emergency Shelter In Community Centres

The U.S. border crossing was closed and motels filled up fast.
Mammoth Snowstorm In Alberta Forces People To Take Emergency Shelter In Community Centres

It's certainly no secret that the weather in Alberta has gone full winter this week. Though, it has long surpassed a light dusting of snow at this point. In fact, it's gotten so bad that the U.S. border in Alberta was forced to shut down on Wendesday, November 27 leaving travellers completely stranded. The Alberta U.S. border closure took place at the crossing on Highway 4 at Coutts-Sweetgrass.

On Thursday, November 27, Environment Canada issued winter storm and snowfall alerts which extended to most of southern Alberta. Prior to the storm warnings, the province announced that the U.S. border would be closing.

Near Alberta’s U.S. border, the closest place is the village of Coutts. The tiny place has a population of under 250 people but is one of the busiest ports of entry from Canada to the U.S. in western Canada.

With Coutts' only motel filling up almost immediately, the village began to accept stranded travellers into the community’s civic centre, according to the Calgary Herald

Though the border crossing does fall right in a treacherous weather zone, it’s not the only area impacted by the extreme conditions.

The RCMP is also advising drivers to steer clear of Highways 4, 5 and 64. "Please slow down and drive with caution today. Better yet, if you don’t have to be out on the roadways, stay home and stay warm!" wrote Lethbridge Police.

Today, weather warnings remain in effect and conditions are still extremely dangerous.

Snowfall warnings are in place for most of southern Alberta, including Calgary. More serious winter storm warnings are in effect for areas including Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, and surrounding areas.

The City of Lethbridge also tweeted out warnings to drivers this morning. “What a snow storm! Crews will continue to work on Priority 1 routes overnight but blowing and drifting snow is making travel difficult on all of our roads. Motorists are reminded to drive with extra caution in these conditions."

Today’s weather warnings show another 5 to 10 cm of snow, harsh winds, and near-zero visibility.

The heavy snow won’t be tapering off until this evening, so the public should “consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” says Environment Canada.

We know it seems like Albertans can't catch a break when it comes to the weather, but you'll be happy to learn that Alberta is actually in for a relatively mild winter.

Also, if mother nature pulls a fast one on us, the province is filled with cozy indoor activities to keep you away from the cold.

Drive safe out there, everyone.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

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