Officials have advised against all non-essential travel on a number of highways in southern Alberta after poor weather conditions have created a treacherous drive on many major routes.

On Wednesday afternoon, RCMP closed both directions of the Trans-Canada Highway between Strathmore and Gleichen because of snow, freezing rain and wind.

Alberta Transportation called for the closure, saying that the conditions resulted in icy roads and very limited visibility.

The closure was in place for nearly four hours on Wednesday afternoon.

Bassano RCMP also reported extreme winter driving conditions just east of that area and also advised motorists against all non-essential travel.

Highway warnings have also come in from a number of other districts because of the inclement weather conditions.

High River RCMP says that motorists in the area may experience icy road conditions and reduced visibility because of the blowing snow.

A number of crashes have already created issues on Highway 2, but there have been no fatalities reported thus far.

One incident in particular led to a blockage of traffic on Highway 23 just east of the community, but the incident has since been cleared.

Authorities in Pincher Creek are also contending with high winds, blowing snow and ice-covered roads in the vicinity of the community.

They are recommending motorists avoid Highway 3 until further notice because of icy conditions.

There are multiple reports of crashes and vehicles in the ditch in that area as well.

The Canadian Border Services Agency says that the poor weather conditions stretch all the way south to the crossing at Carway.

The province says that if highway travel cannot be avoided despite the conditions, drivers are reminded to adjust their habits accordingly and follow a number of guidelines, including:

  • consulting 511 Alberta for information on the latest conditions
  • following posted speed limits and being aware that they are intended for ideal conditions and not winter driving
  • consider installing winter or all-weather tires on your vehicle if not previously installed
  • keep your headlights on at all times
  • travel with a winter emergency kit
  • give road crews, including sander and snowplows, room to work

Environment Canada has also issued a number of weather warnings and advisories for certain areas in southern Alberta.

The snowfall warnings include the communities of Okotoks, High River, Claresholm, Kananaskis, Canmore, Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Waterton Lakes National Park, Cardston, Fort Macleod and Magrath and surrounding areas.

For the full weather forecast, check our weather page.