Live coverage: Snow rolls in, cancellations pile up

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Check here for the latest on this developing story, which will be updated throughout the day.

 

6:40 p.m.

Home care services provided by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority have been significantly disrupted by the storm.

Cancellations and closures

Club Regent Casino, McPhillips Station Casino and the Shark Club Gaming Centre closed for the day at 2:30 p.m.</p>
All Winnipeg and rural Liquor Marts will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, except for locations in Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, The Pas and Thompson, which will remain open until their regular closing times. The Virden Liquor Mart closed at 4 p.m.

• All Winnipeg and rural Liquor Marts will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, except for locations in Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, The Pas and Thompson, which will remain open until their regular closing times. The Virden Liquor Mart closed at 4 p.m.

• The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has cancelled services for most home-care clients unless they are high risk. Clients who will receive services will be contacted.

• All Winnipeg and rural Liquor Marts will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, except for locations in Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, The Pas and Thompson, which will remain open until their regular closing times. The Virden Liquor Mart closed at 4 p.m.

• The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has cancelled services for most home-care clients unless they are high risk. Clients who will receive services will be contacted.

• Club Regent Casino, McPhillips Station Casino and the Shark Club Gaming Centre closed for the day at 2:30 p.m. Weather permitting limited hours of operation may resume tomorrow.

• All MPI service and claim centre locations, in addition to cityplace and MPI’s Physical Damage Centre have closed, effective 3 p.m. Wednesday and will remain closed Thursday.

• Days before closing for good, four of the province’s last COVID-19 testing sites have been closed due to the weather. The Garrick Centre site in Winnipeg, along with 100 Easton Dr. in Selkirk, 365 Reimer Ave. in Steinbach and Southland Mall, R10-777 Norquay Dr. in Winkler, have been shut down for the day.

• An extended snow route parking ban will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

• Days before closing for good, four of the province’s last COVID-19 testing sites have been closed. The Garrick Centre site in Winnipeg, along with 100 Easton Dr. in Selkirk, 365 Reimer Ave. in Steinbach and Southland Mall, R10-777 Norquay Dr. in Winkler, have been shut down for the day.

• An extended snow route parking ban will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

• All Winnipeg-area school divisions, except Pembina Trails, have cancelled classes Wednesday and Thursday. Pembina planned to switch to remote learning. Most other school divisions in Manitoba, including Turtle Mountain and Brandon, have cancelled classes Wednesday and Thursday.

• Assiniboine Community College campuses and programs sites are closed.

• Southern Health announced COVID-19 testing sites in Steinbach and Winkler are closed. 

• Garbage and recycling collection has been suspended, and the Brady Road landfill is closed. All City of Winnipeg libraries are closed until further notice, and so are the city’s indoor pools, fitness and leisure centres, and arenas. The city’s animal services agency is closed Wednesday and Thursday. Here is a list of affected City of Winnipeg services and programs.

• All municipal cemeteries are closed.

• The 311 customer service counters at 510 Main St. and 170 Goulet St. are closed, but residents can still contact 311 via phone, email and social media.

• The community services department customer service counter at 395 Main St. is closed.

• The zoning and permits branch is closed.

• All public committee meetings have been cancelled.

• Winnipeg Transit service will be affected by the storm.

• Transportation for adults who participate in Community Living DisABILITY Services day programs in Winnipeg are cancelled Thursday. Organizations providing day programs in Winnipeg will be closed on April 14. 

• The Assiniboine Park Zoo, Park Café and pavilion are closed today and Thursday. 

• WestJet cancelled all scheduled flights to and from Winnipeg and Brandon today. 

• A Winnipeg Jets home game against the Seattle Kraken scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled to May 1. Friday’s Manitoba Moose game has been moved to Sunday afternoon. A Winnipeg Ice game scheduled for Thursday has been postponed. 

• American punk rock band Rise Against has cancelled its Thursday concert at Canada Life Centre. Peach Pit, an indie pop band from Vancouver, has cancelled its Thursday show at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

• Shopping malls are open, but many tenants at Grand Park and Kildonan Place shopping centres have elected not to open. 

• Several banks have elected to close today, including SCU. 

• The Manitoba legislature is adjourning early.

 


Highways

• The Trans-Canada Highway is closed from Headingley to the Saskatchewan border.

• Highway 75 from Winnipeg to the U.S. border has reopened. 

• Highway 2 is closed from the Perimeter Highway to Souris. 

• Highway 3 is closed from the south Perimeter to the south junction of Highway 83. 

• Highway 6 is closed from the north Perimeter to St. Laurent. 

• Highway 7 is closed from the north Perimeter to Komarno. 

• Highway 13 is closed from the Trans-Canada Highway to Carman. Highway 14 is closed from Highway 75 to Highway 3. The same goes for Highway 23 from Highway 75 to Highway 5. 

• Highways 10 and Highway 19 within Riding Mountain National Park are closed.

• Highway 190 is closed from the north Perimeter to Highway 7. 

• Highway 5 from the Saskatchewan border to Ochre River is closed.

• Highway 68 from the Narrows to Highway 5 is closed.

• Highway 276 from Ste. Rose du Lac to Crane River is closed.

•  Highway 278  from Highway 68 to Silver Ridge is closed.

• Highway 10 from Erikson to Cowan is closed.

• Highway 16 from the Saskatchewan Border to Newdale is closed.

• Highway 20  from Ochre River to Fork River is closed.

• Highway 21 from Highway 24 to Oakburn is closed.

• Highway 41 from St. Lazare to McAuley is closed.

• Highway 42 from Highway 16 to Birtle is closed.

• Highway 45 from Oakburn to Highway 10 is closed.

• Highway 83 from Duck Mountain to Miniota is closed.

Click here for the latest highway information.

Most clients won’t be seen Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, unless they’re considered high risk.

Most staff are being sent home, the authority said, except those who work with those patients who require essential help – but that help will likely only come once in a 24-hour period.

The health authority said its advising other clients to initiate their backup plans until otherwise notified.

The health authority said it has activated its severe weather response plan. That plan will remain in place until at least Thursday morning, when it will be reassessed.

People discharged from hospital will likely not receive home care over the coming days.

ACCESS centres, which provide health and social services, will remain open but with minimal staff. Nursing clinics scheduled for Thursday have been canceled.

The authority has advised health providers against “precarious patient discharges” while the weather alert is in place, and to prioritize discharge for patients who have family and friends who can provide the care they need, like dispensing medications or assisting with personal hygiene.

It has also recommended providers consider road and travel conditions when discharging patients and to ensure any needed equipment can be delivered – as of late Wednesday afternoon, the health authority said it has heard of “significant delays.”

 

 

3:55 p.m.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Doyle Piwniuk urged Manitobans to avoid non-essential travel and not to misinterpret lulls in the blizzard Wednesday afternoon.

“I recommend everybody, if they don’t have to drive, especially in the next couple of days, just to stay at home if possible,” Piwniuk said after members of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly agreed to adjourn for the week in light of the storm conditions.

“There might be a point in this today or tomorrow, there’s going to be off-and-on snow, just to make sure that if it stops snowing, not to go out and venture out too far,” he said, adding the forecast has the storm tapering off Friday.

The minister asked Manitobans to check in on their neighbours, friends and family to offer a helping hand if needed.

“This is a time that, you know what? Borrow some brown sugar from your neighbour instead of going out to the store if you don’t need to, and we recommend that as much as possible,” Piwniuk said.

Snow-clearing crews are prepared to tackle priority highways, including the Perimeter and the Trans-Canada, as soon as the RCMP give the green light, he added.

“Once they’re out there, they actually will be done within a four-hour period (and) some secondary roads will take up to eight hours,” he said.

“We definitely will have our crews out there as soon as it’s safe to do so, that the visibility is fine for our workers to be safe and able to clean the roads.”

On the flood front, Piwniuk said the province’s Hydrological Forecast Centre expects the snow to melt slowly when temperatures rise next week, at the same time that river levels are going down.

Officials will continue to monitor the situation, he noted.

Premier Heather Stefanson offered words of assurance to Manitobans in light of the weather event that saw some residents race out to stores to stock up on supplies.

“Manitobans are resilient," she said. "We’ve been through storms before, we’ve weathered these before, and we’re going to get through this one as well and we will be there every step of the way to help them through this.”

 

2:36 p.m.

Wednesday’s storm is causing severe disruption to public services in the capital. 

In its latest update, the City of Winnipeg said a number of closures and service suspensions will continue Thursday. 

The list includes indoor pools, fitness and leisure centres, libraries, municipal cemeteries, garbage and recycling collection and the Brady Road landfill and 4R depots.  

Winnipeg Transit is experiencing "minor" delays, the city said.

About 200 pieces of equipment, including plows, are involved in its snow-clearing operation, with streets, sidewalks and bike lanes being cleared based on priority. 

The city said it expects to keep plowing major routes, regional streets, bus routes and collector streets as required to keep snow routes open and passable.

An extended snow route parking ban is in effect from 12:01 a.m. Thursday until further notice.  

2:25 p.m.

Cattle producer Cameron Nykoliation, whose farm is just south of Douglas, about 25 kilometres northeast of Brandon, spent about 12 hours Tuesday rounding up his herd and moving them into shelters with extra bedding and feed.

He was doing everything he could to keep his days- or weeks-old calves alive.

“We had to get them some place safe to try to survive this. In this kind of weather, they need shelter,” said Nykoliation, who owns NYK Cattle Company.

“No farm is closed (in a snowstorm). All the businesses are closed, but we’ve still got to go chore, and these cows have to live in this.”

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1:57 p.m.

The Manitoba legislature planned to adjourn early Wednesday because of the weather.

Members intended to call it a day after routine proceedings and won’t sit Thursday. Although MLAs can participate in the proceedings virtually, there are concerns that legislative staff who manage and record the sessions won’t be able to get to work because of the storm.

The session is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

1:48 p.m.

The blizzard has now forced the postponement of most elective and non-urgent surgeries in Winnipeg.

Shared Health said in a statement it has cancelled those surgeries which had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and all-day Thursday, and will move them to a later date.

All patients have been or will be notified about the cancellations, the provincial health body said.

The decision to cancel surgeries was done to make sure if there were staff members who couldn’t get to work because of the blizzard, there would still be enough working to keep essential health-care services going, Shared Health said.

1:10 p.m.

City workers have been deployed across the city in an attempt to clean streets and sidewalks.

On the Disraeli Freeway, a city employee struggled to free his small Bobcat with a shovel after it got stuck trying to clear a sidewalk.

Three plows stationed at the intersection of Lily Street and Disraeli prepared to clear the bridge.

Nearby plows on Hespeler Avenue worked to clean the deserted street, leaving behind mounds of heavy, wet snow.

12:40 p.m.

Although officials were urging people to stay off the streets as much as possible, plenty of Winnipeggers with places to go were taking their chances in the miserable, hazardous conditions.

Heavy blowing snow and high winds, combined with the mild temperature made travel inside the city an adventure, with sleet, water and snow flying from windshields and other vehicles’ tires. In some places, drivers were guessing as to the placement of lane markers.

A van with its flashers on travelling northbound on Main Street just off Queen Elizabeth Way struggled to find traction, while other vehicles – mostly large pickup trucks – sped past at or above the speed limit, leaving more visibility-impairing debris in their wake.

Winnipeg Transit buses rolled slowly through the increasing mess and a few people trudged along the sidewalk, trying brace themselves against powerful wind gusts.

On Lagimodiere Boulevard near Reenders Drive, pieces of heavy snow-clearing equipment travelling in groups of five crawled along, traffic piling up behind them, stretching into the distance.

12:35 p.m.

Weary travellers are seeking refuge at the Robins Nest Motel & Cafe, at the corner of highways 1 and 5 north of Carberry, as driving conditions become even more treacherous and routes are closed by police.

Owner Mike Patel said four guests have checked in since Tuesday night to ride out the storm at the 12-room motel.

“They told me, ‘Your motel is like a lifesaver for us.’ It’s terrible weather now,” he said. “Highway 1 is closed, but people are still going (on it).”

Owner Mike Patel said four guests have checked into the Robins Nest Motel & Cafe near Carberry since Tuesday night to ride out the storm at the 12-room motel. (Mike Patel / Winnipeg Free Press)

He said a tow-truck driver was camped out in the motel’s parking lot waiting for calls from drivers who get stranded and need to be rescued.

Patel, who is originally from India, has been living in Canada for 12 years, the last five of them in Manitoba.

“I see (snowstorms) every year but not like this,” he said.

12:18 p.m.

Winnipeg’s spring storm snowfall was on track to meet Environment Canada’s predictions as of late this morning.

Natalie Hasell, a meteorologist for Environment Canada, said Winnipeg has seen snow accumulation in the range of 15 cm in some parts of the city. The bulk of the storm’s snow will fall today.

The wind is blowing at about 57 km/h, causing blowing snow and low visibility.

Hasell said conditions in Winnipeg will remain “very difficult” until around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., when the forecast changes from snow, at times heavy, to snow and blowing snow.

Winds are expected to gust to 70 around this time before reducing to about 60. The blowing snow will continue to pose issues into the later afternoon and evening.

Snow and blowing snow will continue well into Thursday and early Friday morning, Hasell said. Winnipeg will see cloudy conditions and temperatures hovering below 0 C after that.

“Then we’ll be in a freeze-thaw cycle,” Hasell said. “That may help slow down the melt, but for road conditions, it will still make things really complicated.”

Thomas shovels the sidewalk in front of the Stantec office on Portage Avenue during the blizzard Wednesday morning. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Environment Canada has slightly reduced its snowfall predictions for the western side of the Red River Valley and southwestern Manitoba, particularly in high elevation areas. The new forecast is calling for 60 cm, though the original prediction of 80 cm is still possible.

Southeastern Manitoba could still see 20 cm to 40 cm of snow in total. Freezing drizzle might add another layer of risk to road conditions in the region.

Environment Canada has added several regions to the east and west of Lake Winnipeg’s north basin to its storm warning list, including Swan River, Poplar River First Nation and Island Lake.

“Even if you don’t have an alert in effect, there’s a good chance you’ll still see snow and blowing snow, just not enough for warning criteria,” Hasell said. 

12:10 p.m.

Margo Henuset in Souris decided to close her restaurant, Antlers & Oak Diner, early because of the storm Wednesday. (Margo Henuset / Winnipeg Free Press)
In Souris, Margo Henuset opened her restaurant, Antlers & Oak Diner, at 8 a.m., but decided to close two hours later as snow piled up outside.

“It’s blowing so bad right now and there’s no one around, so we’re closing. I’ve shovelled four times already and it fills in right away,” Henuset said shortly after 10 a.m.

Given the lack of customers, she assumed most people were hunkering down inside their homes.

"We’re going home, and that’s it," she said of her staff. “It’s April. You never know what’s going to happen. We live in Manitoba, and that’s the way it is. What can we do?”

10:20 a.m.

The province has announced updated highway closures.

Highway 75 is now closed from Winnipeg to the U.S. border.

Highway 2 is closed from the Perimeter Highway to Souris.

Click here for the latest highway information.

Southern Health announced COVID-19 testing sites in Steinbach and Winkler are closed today.

Pedestrians take on a blustery snowfall as they cross Hargrave Street early Wednesday morning. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

9:40 a.m.

The Manitoba Government has released a new round of road closures as driving conditions deteriorate throughout the southern part of the province.

The Trans-Canada Highway is now closed from Headingley to the Saskatchewan border.

Manitoba RCMP said Tuesday night that the Perimeter Highway would close at midnight today or when the snow started. The entire Perimeter Highway is now closed.

Highway 3 is closed from the south Perimeter to the south junction of Highway 83. Highway 75 is closed from Morris to the U.S. border.

Highway 13 is closed from the Trans-Canada Highway to Carman. Highway 14 is closed from Highway 75 to Highway 3. The same goes for Highway 23 from Highway 75 to Highway 5.

North of Winnipeg, Highway 6 is closed from the north Perimeter to St. Laurent. Highway 7 is closed from the north Perimeter to Komarno. Highway 190 is closed from the north Perimeter to Highway 7

Several other sections of Manitoba highways are closed. Click here for the latest highway information.

Snow covers cars parked on Balmoral Street in West Broadway early Wednesday morning. (Winnipeg Free Press)

8 a.m.

The snow from a spring storm is starting to pile up, and the list of cancelled services and events is also growing.

Environment Canada forecasts the storm system will drop the majority of its total snow fall today throughout the Red River Valley including Winnipeg and southeastern Manitoba. The snow will continue into Thursday evening, before tapering off on Friday.

The Trans-Canada Highway is closed from Elie to Highway 34 because of poor driving conditions. Highway 75 is closed from Morris to the U.S. border. Manitoba RCMP said Tuesday night that the Perimeter Highway would close at midnight today or when the snow started. This morning, the RCMP said “anticipated widespread highway closures across southern Manitoba were not required.”

Highway conditions “continue to deteriorate and more official closures are possible throughout the day,” the RCMP said in the news release. Click here for the latest highway information.

“If you do decide to travel, please be warned that first responders may not be able to get to you if you become stranded or need assistance,” RCMP said in the news release Tuesday.

The forecast for today calls for snow, at times heavy, with blowing snow, a high of 0 C, wind chill as low as -9, and peak winds from the northeast at 50 km/h gusting to 70. A winter storm warning is in effect.

All Winnipeg-area school divisions, except Pembina Trails, said last night that classes would be cancelled today. Pembina planned to switch to remote learning.

Garbage and recycling collection has been suspended for today, and the Brady Road landfill is closed. All City of Winnipeg libraries are closed until further notice, and so are the city’s indoor pools, fitness and leisure centres, and arenas. The city’s animal services agency is also closed today. Here is a list of affected City of Winnipeg services and programs.

Winnipeg Transit service will be affected by the storm. Transportation for adults in Community Living DisABILITY Services day programs in Winnipeg can expect cancellations.

An extended snow route parking ban will come into effect 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo, Park Café and pavilion are closed today and Thursday.

WestJet moved to cancel all scheduled flights Wednesday to and from Winnipeg and Brandon today.

A Winnipeg Jets home game against the Seattle Kraken scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled to May 1. Friday’s Manitoba Moose game has been moved to Sunday afternoon. A Winnipeg Ice game scheduled for Thursday has been postponed.

American punk rock band Rise Against has cancelled its Thursday concert at Canada Life Centre. Peach Pit, an indie pop band from Vancouver, has cancelled its Thursday show at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

— staff

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 8:00 AM CDT: Adds new RCMP statement

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 8:40 AM CDT: Adds photo

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 8:50 AM CDT: Updates, adds link

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 9:40 AM CDT: Updates, adds photo

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 10:25 AM CDT: Updates with road closures

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 10:35 AM CDT: Adds photo

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 12:29 PM CDT: Adds slideshow

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 2:06 PM CDT: Adds updated closures fact box

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 3:04 PM CDT: Updates highway closures and cancellation sidebar

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 4:45 PM CDT: Updates closure sidebar

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 6:28 PM CDT: Updates fact box with WHRA info re home-care services

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:05 PM CDT: Updates fact box with additional highway closures.

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:33 PM CDT: Updates school division closures

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