Southern Manitoba adrift with wind-blown snow

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It's winter, but it's no wonderland out there.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/01/2017 (2165 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s winter, but it’s no wonderland out there.

Environment Canada says snow that’s drifting throughout southern Manitoba is expected to continue all morning and into the afternoon, blown by a northwest wind of 40 km/h, gusting to 60 km/h.

Throughout the Red River Valley, wind has reduced visibility at times to less than 500 metres.  There are highway closures, and several reports of cars that slid off roads.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Heavy equipment works northbound lanes on McPhillips near Selkirk Tuesday morning.

The snowfall accumulation in Winnipeg is expected to be about seven centimeters with significant drifting in open areas.

It is also very cold. The temperature in Winnipeg early today was -19 C but, with the wind chill, it felt like -34 C.

Environment Canada said a Colorado Low is to thank for the winter storm as a trough of low pressure surrounds southeastern Manitoba and the Red River Valley.

Although it feels like there has been unusually harsh winter weather in the past few weeks, including three storms in December, Environment Canada meterologist Natalie Hasell said that may just be a perception because last winter was an El Nino, which typically leads to warmer conditions and fewer storms.

“We have the impression that there’s lots of storms right now,” Hasell said, noting that there’s not a measurement for what would be an average number of winter storms. “Because last year was so quiet by comparison, it’s easy to have that impression.

“We’ve been hammered by this kind of stuff before.”

Hasell said the snow is expected to taper off in the early afternoon today. 

The highest snowfall amounts will be in the southeast section of the province, where around 15 centimeters had fallen by this morning.

The City of Winnipeg said, as of 8 a.m.today,  truck plowing and sanding trucks were working on main routes.  Sidewalk plowing was also underway and a major load and haul operation was continuing.

Motorists were advised to observe the city’s annual snow route parking ban, which is in effect overnight from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. each day until March 1. Snow routes are clearly marked with signage, and are designated as a top priority for snow clearing to ensure that emergency vehicles can travel around the city. 

Vehicles parked in violation of the annual snow route parking ban can receive a $100 ticket and may be towed to the towing company’s compound.

Today’s storm conditions are even more intense over parts of the Dakotas, northern Minnesota, and northwestern Ontario, Environment Canada said.

There is a winter storm warning for southeastern areas of the province including Steinbach, St. Adolphe, Emerson, Vita and Richer and affecting a number of rural municipalities in those areas. 

The temperature will drop again tonight with a low of -27 C and a wind chill of -38 C.

The cold is expected to continue through the week with lows in the -20s with wind chills in the high -30s and could reach -40 C.

Travel is treacherous and not advised as a number of highways are closed across the southern part of the province. 

Highway 75 from Winnipeg to Emerson has been closed since just before midnight while Highways 2 and 3, among others are also closed in various locations.

Anyone considering travel is advised to first check the province’s highway conditions at the Manitoba 511 Roads and Traveller Information website at www.manitoba511.ca or Twitter @MBGovRoads.

Schools are still closed for the holiday break.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 8:56 AM CST: Updates, adds photo, adds links

Updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 10:23 AM CST: Changes head, adds content

Updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 11:27 AM CST: Adds map.

Updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 1:23 PM CST: Updates photo

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