CALGARY ­–  A winter storm warning, as well as a frost advisory, was issued at 9:32 p.m. Friday for Cardston County, the Blood Reserve and the M.D. of Willow Creek near Fort Macleod, as well as the M.D. of Willow Creek near Granum and Peigan Timber Limit.

Hazardous winter conditions are expected, with snow intensifying over southwestern Alberta tonight.

Total accumulations in some areas may approach 40 to 50 cm by Monday morning, with some areas reaching 70 cm.

There was no winter storm warning issued for Calgary, but a frost advisory was issued.

That came on top of a snowfall warning that was issued early Friday morning for sections of the Bow Valley and Kananaskis Provincial Park as upwards of 30 centimetres of snowfall is expected in the area in the coming days.

Drivers fuelling up at a gas station just west of Calgary are preparing to brace for winter criving conditions.

"We brought some extra clothes, like winter stuff in the back, just in case. We just prepare for the worst. But I'm sure it won't be too bad," said Scott Wenger, bound for British Columbia on a road trip with his father.

"My dad got his snowsuit, winter boots, stuff like that."

Travelers from south of the border say the dip in temperatures is unexpected.

"This is a little early for us," said Gregory Millard, who's driving through from Colorado. The weather warning prompted him to hit the road for Vancouver a day earlier, and he bought brand new winter tires for his vehicle.

"Hope you don't find us stranded on the side of the road, shivering and waiting for the snow to stop."

He says he is not perplexed by Calgary's climate.

"Actually, it's beautiful," he said. "I've been telling my wife we need to come back. I love Calgary."

His son lives in Oregon, so he and his wife decided to make a scenic detour through Canada for their visit.

"We'll be back," he added.

The Alberta Motor Association says driving under snowy weather conditions requires extra preparedness.

"Make sure your car is road-worthy. Check your tire conditions, tire inflation. Make sure your fluids are up, especially your washer fluid," said Wayne McLachlan, chief instructor, driver education for southern Alberta.

"Start mentally adapting to the fact the road conditions are changing."

As of Friday afternoon, Environment Canada issued winter storm warnings for the following areas within Alberta:

  • Cardston
  • Fort Macleod
  • Magrath
  • Crowsnest Pass
  • Pincher Creek
  • Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Kananaskis
  • Canmore
  • Okotoks
  • High River
  • Claresholm

According to Environment Canada, snowfall will begin Friday evening and continue throughout the weekend. The overnight snowfall into Saturday morning in the region could reach 10 centimetres and there is the potential for upwards of 30 centimetres of total snowfall by Monday morning.

Motorists are encouraged to postpone non-essential travel in the region until conditions improve.

Snowfall warnings have also been issued for:

Special weather statements, including frost advisories, are also in effect for Calgary, some of the mountain parks and several other communities throughout the province of Alberta from as far north as High Level to Milk River in the south.

Poor driving conditions are expected in southwest Alberta this weekend and drivers are encouraged to review highway conditions before heading out.

For updated information regarding weather warnings and watches, visit Environment Canada – Public Weather Alerts.
For the latest on road conditions in Calgary, follow  YYC Transportation on twitter or check the CTV Calgary Traffic Page HERE.
For updates on highway conditions, follow 511 Alberta on twitter, visit AMA Roads Reports and the DriveBC sites.
Download the CTV Calgary Sky Watch Weather App for real-time weather forecasts and video updates on conditions HERE.