Winter Storms

Blizzards, ice storms, high winds and blowing snow can develop quickly and threaten life and property. In addition, Alberta experiences extreme cold temperatures during the winter when temperatures can reach -40 C or colder. Temperatures this low are life-threatening and put people and animals at risk.

Before a Winter Storm

Blizzards

A blizzard warning is issued when falling or blowing snow reaches speeds of at least 40 kilometres per hour and is expected to last at least four hours. Blizzards or blowing snow can occur when there are clear skies, and can cause zero visibility.

During a Blizzard

  • Avoid driving and wait several hours after the storm ends before going anywhere.
  • If you have to drive, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions. Travel during daytime hours, make sure you have a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and use the buddy system so someone knows where you are going and when you expect to get there.
  • If possible, avoid going outdoors. If you must go outdoors, dress for the weather.

If you are stuck in your vehicle:

  • Remain calm, stay inside and call for help using your cell phone.
  • Occasionally run the engine to stay warm, but beware of exhaust fumes and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow.
  • Allow fresh air in by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side of your vehicle, away from the wind.

Freezing Rain or Ice Storm

Freezing rain is rain that freezes on impact and creates a build-up of clear ice (glaze) on surfaces. An ice storm occurs when large amounts of freezing rain continue for several hours. They can also include wind, ice fog and cold temperatures.

Freezing rain can cause damage by creating a heavy load wherever the ice forms. Ice from freezing rain can build up on any surface making sidewalks and pathways dangerous for falls and slips.

  • Avoid driving and wait several hours after the storm ends before going anywhere.
  • If you have to drive, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions. Travel during daytime hours, make sure you have a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and use the buddy system so someone knows where you are going and when you expect to get there.
  • If possible, avoid going outdoors. If you must go outdoors, dress for the weather. Pay close attention to large sheets of ice on buildings, tree branches and power lines, which could fall unexpectedly.

Extreme Cold

In Alberta, an extreme cold warning is issued when temperatures or the wind chill index reach minus 40°C or colder. Being exposed even for short periods in these conditions can be dangerous

  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • If you have to drive, know your route ahead of time and check Alberta 511 for current road conditions
  • Make sure you have a vehicle emergency kit and use the buddy system so someone knows where you are going and when you expect to get there.
  • Dress in warm, windproof layers. Watch for signs of frostbite, which can occur in less than 10 minutes in extreme cold.
  • When working outside, do not overexert yourself. Sweating can lead to hypothermia, which can be fatal.
  • Make sure your pets, farm animals and livestock have warm shelter during extreme cold.

Learn more about extreme cold.

Get Life-Saving Alerts

Sturgeon County uses Alberta Emergency Alerts. This is Alberta’s emergency alerting system and broadcasts information over text message, television, radio and road signs. No sign-up is needed, but you are encouraged to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play store, or text FollowAB_EmergAlert to 21212 to sign up for text notifications.

Related Links

Sturgeon County offices will be closed Monday, February 19 for Family Day. Offices will re-open Tuesday, February 20 at 8:30 a.m.

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