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Roads closed and flights delayed thanks to snow

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The Colorado low moving across Manitoba has caused highway closures.

Visibility is fair to good in most of the province but a number of roads are ice-covered.

On Sunday morning, the Trans-Canada Highway between Headingley and Brandon was still closed due to snow and slippery conditions.

Here are other, non-weather-related road closures in the province:

- Highway 334 at the La Salle River. The Bridge is closed and a detour is in effect.

- Highway Courchaine Rd. from Turnbull Drive to Highway 200. It’s under construction.

- Highway 227 at the Assiniboine River Division Bridge is closed and a detour is in effect.

- Highway 518 for 14 km north of Highway 6 is closed and impassable because of water over the road.

- Many other roads, including highways 8,9 and 59 heading north of Winnipeg are snow covered with slippery sections and swirling snow.

Government of Manitoba road data - map of road closures

Clearing the roads

The city is bringing out the heavy artillery to battle the first snowfall of the season.

About 130 front-end loaders as well as salt and sanding trucks have been deployed Saturday to combat icy conditions and improve traction on major routes.

The public works department will monitor weather forecasts and conditions to determine whether any additional machines are required.

No winter parking bans have been activated, but that could change in the coming days depending on the amount of snow that falls over the weekend and the resulting snow-clearing requirements.

Winnipeg Transit is currently running on schedule with very few minor delays.

Airport delays

And if you're looking to jet out of Winnipeg today, you'd better check with your airline to make sure your flight is taking off.

The storm system that's slowly making its way across Western Canada and into Winnipeg has resulted in a number of cancelled flights and many more that have been delayed, according to Winnipeg Airports Authority spokeswoman, Christine Payne.

Up to 30 cm of snow is expected to fall on Winnipeg Saturday -- heavy and blowing at times -- making road travel treacherous, so it's advised travellers leave some extra time to get to the airport.

WestJet has cancelled one flight out of Calgary, so it won't be in Winnipeg to start the next leg, Payne said. Both WestJet and Air Canada have posted travel advisories on their websites. Travellers can also call 204-987-9402 for updates.

Payne said once planes are on the ground in Winnipeg, taking off for their next destination shouldn't be much of a problem.

"We're in good shape. Our guys are going runway clearing and keeping up. This is a snow day that's typical for us," she said.

What can cause longer delays is freezing rain because it requires putting chemicals on the runways, she said.

Remembrance Day

A winter storm won’t get in the way of Remembrance Day, though.

Ground crews at three cemeteries, Brookside, Transcona and St. Vital, will start snow clearing early Sunday morning in advance of traditional Nov. 11 services.

"Military Fields of Honour in Brookside and Transcona cemeteries will be the priority for snow clearing to allow citizens and our clients to visit on Remembrance Day," the City said in a release.

Not all areas of the cemeteries will be fully accessible before Wednesday.

Some like the snow

Not everybody was lamenting the snow’s arrival. JF Ravenelle, president and general manager of Gord’s Ski and Bike, said he’s been waiting for the skies to open up for weeks.

"It’s awesome. We had our best day (Saturday) traffic-wise since the summer. Nobody was coming in the doors for the last few weeks, it was dead, dead, dead. Then boom, it snows and the store is full people. Thank God for snow. I’m probably the only guy saying (to the weatherman), ‘C’mon, you promised us 30 centimetres!’" he said.

Ravenelle said jackets, skis and snowboards were moving off the shelves and the lineups for its Junior Lease program, in which Gord’s rents used ski and snowboard equipment to kids for the winter for a set price of $100, were long.

"The Pavlovian response for people is ridiculous. They could have done this last week but the snow triggered it," he said.


Updated on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM CST: updates with city snow-clearing activity, bus delays

12:41 PM: updates with snow cleared at some cemeteries for Remembrance Day ceremonies

2:39 PM: adds updates on road closures

5:15 PM: update

7:34 PM: update

November 11, 2012 at 9:31 AM: Corrects to say only the Trans-Canada Highway closed due to snow.

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