Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

What is this white stuff?

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I think we all know how this is going to play out, don't we, Winnipeg?

It's the same (bad word) story every year. Even though we spend -- and this is a conservative estimate -- about 10 months in a state of winter weariness, whenever the first snowfall of the season arrives, we are perplexed, confused, baffled, mystified and more than a little startled.

After glancing out the window, we run out of our houses in our ratty bathrobes, shake our fists at the sky in disbelief and curse the heavens for sending us mysterious white precipitation to coat our driveways and vehicles.

"What is this white stuff?" we shriek, before hopping in our cars to display we have once again forgotten anything we might have learned about driving in the snow. "Should I drive really fast, even though I cannot see out my car's windows? Yes, that makes sense," is what we tell ourselves.

Well get ready for a little déj vu, Winnipeg, because it's about to happen again -- an ugly Colorado low is going to sock us in the chops this weekend, bringing more snow than you can shake a Canadian Tire shovel at.

This nasty low-pressure system brewing over the Montana-Wyoming-Colorado area is going to bury us in white stuff, prompting Environment Canada to issue a winter storm warning for the city.

My buddy, Dale Marciski at the weather office, said Winnipeg can expect heavy snowfall in the 20- to 30-centimetre range, although some pockets of up to 40 cm are possible in areas near the Turtle Mountains and east of Riding Mountain Park.

Gusting wind in the 30-kilometre range is going to create near-zero-visibility conditions on highways. Dale said the worst of the storm will hit today, along with a daily high of -2 C, compared with the normal high of zero.

It will ease off a bit Sunday, but with a high of just -5 C it's going to be a chilly and snowy Remembrance Day.

"Get your snow boots, shovels, snow blowers, toboggans, sleighs, snowshoes, cross-country skis or whatever out, because we're getting some snow," Dale warned. "Once you start to talk about 30 centimetres, you're talking about quite a bit."

For the record, Dale said the last time we saw snow like this was Dec. 30-31, 2006, when we were smacked with 32 centimetres. On Nov. 7-9, 1986, 36 centimetres blanketed the city.

As for what to do this weekend, Dale and I agreed it might be a good idea to hunker down in the basement with a flashlight and some bottled water, but there are options.

For starters, hook up the dog team today and take your old blue boxes and garbage containers to Winnipeg Harvest, 1085 Winnipeg Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Harvest will use the boxes in its gardening program, for delivering food hampers and other stuff. Non-reusable containers will be recycled by the city.

Speaking of dogs, you might want to howl at the Winnipeg Humane Society's annual Bow Wow Ball tonight at the Fairmont. Call 204-982-2041 or visit www.winnipeghumanesociety.ca . Whatever you do and regardless of the weather, take a moment Sunday to remember the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Later, when it's time to shovel the driveway, Winnipeg, I recommend you do some stretching and then turn the job over to the ultimate cleaning machine. I'm talking about your teenagers.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2012 A2

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