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Jasper National Park warns of forecasted spring storm

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A spring storm expected to hit Jasper National Park on Easter Sunday is prompting precautionary road closures, officials say.

Maligne Lake Road and the Icefields Parkway will be closed April 9 as a spring storm moves through the area.

According to Environment Canada, overnight rain Saturday will continue the next day. While temperatures will remain above zero at the ground, snow is expected to fall at the upper mountain ranges.

"This will increase the avalanche hazard and may require avalanche control work," Parks Canada said in a statement. "Control work will take place after the storm has passed and conditions are safe to do so."

"Backcountry users planning the Pat Schehan traverse or Panther Falls hike on Sunday should reschedule their plans."

Maligne Lake Road will be closed Sunday at 7 a.m. from Maligne Hostel to Maligne Lake. Parks Canada says the Maligne Canyon and hostel will remain accessible to the public.

The park expects the road to reopen Monday.

The Icefields Parkway will close Sunday at 3 p.m. from Parker Ridge to Saskatchewan River Crossing. Parks Canada said the closure may last between four hours to overnight, depending on snow levels.

"During the spring months, warming conditions can cause frequent short-notice delays," the national park authority added. "If you're heading into the backcountry, be aware that avalanche hazards will increase in the afternoon as daytime warming weakens the upper snowpack.

"Pay attention to how quickly the day is warming up and to the changing snow conditions on sunny aspects." 

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