Even though Canadians have already been dealing with snowy weather, today is actually the first day of winter. It may seem hard to believe, but that means that winter wasn't officially here until now. Only a few hours into the season, Alberta is already facing some serious warnings involving snow.

Several areas in the province are facing avalanche warnings due to strong winds and snowfall. The avalanche warnings are listed mostly for national parks, including Jasper, Glacier, and Banff. 

Those areas have already seen significant snowfall, and even more is expected, according to Environment Canada. Banff could see up to 50 centimetres of snowfall, increasing the avalanche risk even further.

Parks Canada's avalanche information attributes the higher risk of avalanches to two factors: storm slabs and persistent slabs. 

Storm slabs could be formed by heavy snowfall and winds that are expected to reach up to 120 kilometres per hour. If the new slabs reach further below, they could trigger an avalanche from the persistent slabs.

Persistent slabs are composed of packed ice and snow from precipitation that came earlier in the season. With further snowfall and heavy winds, Parks Canada predicts that these layers could come loose and cause even more avalanches.

The risk of avalanche is expected to remain high throughout Saturday. Parks Canada has warned anyone in the area to travel carefully or to just avoid the areas altogether.

Alberta has already seen its share of adverse winter weather. A huge November snowstorm forced people to take shelter in a small village's civic centre.

Some parts of Alberta have also faced extreme cold alerts this winter, with overnight temperatures dipping as low as minus 50 degrees.

Despite the prediction of a relatively short winter, there's still a good amount of time left in the season. Canadians will just have to keep looking forward to spring!


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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