Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City steeling for dump of snow

Municipal crews readying for storm

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The city's sanding trucks ready? Check.

Dozens of snowplows? Check.

Big dump of snow? Environment Canada predicts we will be able to check that off today.

The weather service's meteorologists were warning Manitobans on Friday a severe winter storm with heavy snow was bearing down on the province.

Called a Colorado low, it was expected to drop 20 to 30 centimetres of snow on southern Manitoba, with some pockets near the Turtle Mountains and Riding Mountain National Park getting up to 40 cm of white stuff before it ends tonight or Sunday for the eastern part of the province.

Ken Boyd, the city's manager of streets maintenance in the public works department, said the city was readying for anything Mother Nature threw at it.

"Our first line of attack is using sand spreaders to spread salt on priority-one roads," Boyd said on Friday.

"We have 35 of them ready. But if the sanding operation becomes overwhelmed by snow, then we'll deploy our truck plowing operation.

"We could have up to 65 trucks plowing... it depends on the magnitude of the storm."

Boyd said the city will continue assessing what equipment it needs to deploy -- including when it might have to plow sidewalks and back lanes -- throughout the day and weekend.

Meanwhile, with it looking to be the first heavy snowfall since the new garbage and recycling carts were put in place across the entire city, the city is asking people to keep their carts off the streets or back lanes while snowplows are out.

As well, the city is saying if Monday is your collection day, don't put the carts out the night before to allow for snow clearing, but put them out before by 7 a.m.

Boyd said if necessary, the city would try to help the collection by deploying snowplows into the back lanes with Monday pickup on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada's warning preparedness meteorologist John Paul Cragg said Friday the weather service was expecting the storm system to be more intense than initially anticipated.

Cragg said Environment Canada revised its forecast to a winter storm warning, as 25 cm of snow, blowing snow and freezing rain were expected to bring near-whiteout conditions. He said the storm system is expected to bring 20 to 30 cm of snow.

"It's starting to rev up and it's bad," he said.

Cragg said the worst of the storm was to hit Manitoba today, while treacherous conditions were to affect roadways overnight and into this morning. He said motorists should avoid all travel.

"Saturday itself is going to be really bad. The worst of it will hit Saturday," he said.

RCMP Cpl. Miles Hiebert said drivers should use caution and reduce their speed on roadways. If possible, he said avoid any unnecessary travel during bad weather.

"Caution will be the word of the day," Hiebert said.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2012 A8

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Updated on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 8:27 AM CST: adds fact box

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