Winnipeg's public works department said Sunday afternoon that it's prepared for a major snowfall expected in the city and asked motorists to be ready, too.
"We've had very dry conditions and that's going to change when this weather moves in," public works spokesman Ken Allen said Sunday at the department's yard on Pacific Avenue.
Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Winnipeg Sunday that said amounts of 15 to 20 cm expected with total accumulations up to 25 cm in some regions. After days of above-normal temperatures that saw outdoor rinks and trails at The Forks closed as a result, Winnipeggers need to buck up for winter's return, Allen said.
"We're going to be back into winter driving conditions in a big way, We want to remind motorists and urge them to drive to winter conditions, use caution, slow down — allow additional stopping distance," Allen said. "I would even allow additional travel time to get to my destinations because (Monday), you know it's going to be slow. So plan ahead and be safe," he said.
"We're ready for whatever Mother Nature dishes out," Allen said while standing in front of one of the city's three massive stockpiles of sand and salt located off McPhillips Street on Pacific Avenue, off Regent Avenue and Waverley Street.
"Our first line of defence is going to be our salting operation once the precipitation starts to come," said Allen who was keeping a close eye on the forecast Sunday.
"Literally tons and tons of salt will be put on the roadway during this operation to ensure that traction is maintained as precipitation begins to fall. Once the snow begins to accumulate on the roadway we'll likely be moving into our truck plowing operation very quickly after that," he said.
"We have ample material here for our operation tonight and (Monday). Crews and equipment are ready to go."
The city announced earlier an overnight snow route parking ban taking effect at midnight Sunday.
"There's going to be up to 200 pieces of heavy equipment on the street to move snow away," Allen said.
Motorists need to be patient when they see a line of snow plows on the road ahead working together to clear a street, said Allen, who was a plow operator for more than a decade before becoming a spokesman for public works.
"Sometimes motorists cut in between the plows, which is a very hazardous type of practice," Allen said. "Our operators are focused on plowing the snow and if someone ducks in behind them, it's hard to see. We want to remind people to stay back and stay safe from snowclearing equipment," said Allen.
Outside the City of Winnipeg, the snowstorm will impact travel conditions, Environment Canada said in its warning Sunday.
For highway conditions, see http://www.manitoba511.ca/
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