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Don't like Alberta's weather? Just wait five minutes

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Experts acknowledge old adage really does apply in unpredictable province

Tuesday morning we awoke to a new dump of snow and reached for our trusty winter sweaters, parkas and boots, yet again.

By the weekend, we could all be back in our flip-flops.

Or just medicating for our migraines.

Welcome to February — and pretty much any other time of year — in Alberta, where the weather changes constantly — and often drastically.

According to meteorologists at the Weather Network, Alberta is, in fact, Canada’s most difficult province when it comes to forecasting weather.

In an effort to deal with the unique challenge of our unusual topography, the network has launched a new regional broadcast feed in Calgary, understanding that you have to be here to get the weather.

“Alberta really is notoriously difficult to forecast,” said Kelsey McEwen, the network’s new local weather specialist.

“It has everything to do with the topography. We have the plains, the prairies, leading into the foothills and then the mountains. That can all cause a lot of unpredictability.”

McEwen explains the large variety of topography in such a small area can lead to sudden changes, from warm to cold and cold to warm again, just like this week.

With a low of -7C overnight Tuesday, high temperatures are expected to reach 13C by Friday.

In the summer months, Alberta is susceptible to some of the most severe weather in the country.

Anything from heavy rain to large hail to tornadoes is possible due to the region’s relatively high elevation and local weather effects.

That same upslope flow that induces thunderstorms in the summer can induce heavy snowfall in the winter.

Calgary has also been known to go from -5C to 10C in an hour in winter, due to winds funnelled through the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia, commonly known as Chinook winds.

Calgary is also the sunniest city in Canada, ranked 1st for sunniest winters and the most sunny days year round.


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