Travel on Highway 22 and Highway 3 is not recommended for any large light vehicles or empty semi-tractors due to extremely high winds, according to a release issued Thursday by the Crowsnest Pass RCMP.
Police responded to several collisions on Highway 22, where winds in excess of 100 km/h were reported.
According to Environment Canada’s website, wind warnings have been issued for Pincher Creek near Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, Cowley, Burmis and Maycroft, Twin Butte, Pincher Creek, the Municipal District of Ranchland, Crowsnest Pass including Coleman and Frank, the Piikani Reserve, Blood Reserve 148A and Waterton Lakes National Park.
Winds in excess of 100 km/h were also forecast for Kananaskis Country.
The warnings were expanded Thursday evening to include Calgary, Airdrie and Cochrane.
Heavy accumulation is expected in the mountain parks as well. Snowfall warnings were issued for Banff and Jasper National Parks.
“A strong southwesterly flow over the mountains will bring upwards of 50 to 60 cm of snow to sections the Icefields Parkway [Highway 93],” reads the warning from Environment Canada.
“The heaviest snow is expected to fall until conditions improve overnight into Saturday. Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”
Highway 93 was closed between Saskatchewan River Crossing and Jasper as of 5:30 p.m. MT Thursday.
The snow also elevated the avalanche risk for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks.
“The danger rating forecast for Jan. 4, is extreme in the alpine, extreme at treeline and high below treeline,” reads the warning.
“The danger rating forecast for Jan. 5 is currently high in the alpine, high at treeline and considerable below treeline. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.”
The winds are expected to continue until late Friday morning.