The Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, home to much of the country’s oil and gas industry, suffered through a late-summer snowfall on Wednesday that snarled traffic, downed trees and cut power to dozens of neighborhoods.
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city of 1.2 million is used to bizarre weather and heavy snowfalls are common in the winter months. But the early September storm, which has so far dumped as much as 35 centimeters (14 inches) of snow since Monday, is unusually early and especially damaging because the wet, heavy snow is landing on trees still thick with leaves.
“About every decade we get a significant snow event (in September),” said Bill McMurtry, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, the country’s national weather service. “This one will probably be seen as one of the worst ones, just because it happened so early in the month and we have not had a killing frost … so we’re going to see some major impacts.”
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