People across southern Manitoba spent the day shoveling themselves out and faced treacherous conditions on roads Thursday after a day-long storm on Wednesday.
Most roads in southern Manitoba had sections covered in drifts of snow and visibility was also reduced in swirling snow, particularly from Brandon east to the Ontario border.
"Large chunks of the Perimeter [Highway] are snow covered and down to just one lane," said CBC News traffic reporter Trevor Dineen early on Thursday.
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Reports of semis in the ditch came in from the east Perimeter and another partly in the ditch and the ramp on the west Perimeter at Pembina Highway.
"Your highways are very snow packed in a lot of areas. I've heard about the 15, 12, 18 and 10 all being quite difficult," Dineen said.
According to Environment Canada, Winnipeg received about 12 to 17 centimetres from Wednesday's storm with another two centimetres expected to fall Thursday.
Portage la Prairie had anywhere from nine to 16 cm and Brandon got away with just four to six centimetres.
The areas worst hit were Landmark, Steinbach and Sprague, which all received 25 centimetres of snow. Pinawa was blanketed in 21 cm and the Morden area had 15 to 17 cm.
City working round-the-clock to clear streets
City crews worked round the clock to clear snow on city streets.
Ken Allen with the city’s public works department said plows had to be dispatched twice to some areas just to clear them for the morning rush.
“Crews [are] working in every part of the city and working as quickly as we can to clear the streets,” said Allen.
He said all major routes and secondary routes should be cleared by Thursday night, and crews will tackle back lanes beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday.
Officials said about 300 pieces of equipment would be used in the cleanup, with an estimated cost of $1 million.
City officials reminded residents the declared snow route parking ban would remain in place between midnight and 7 a.m.
CAA expects 600 calls from drivers stuck in snow
In Winnipeg, drivers struggled to get around for much of the day.
CAA Manitoba expected to get about 600 calls by the end of day Thursday.
Some of the calls have included “people who need a little bit of a hand, a little bit of a push – people getting stuck in some of the deeper stuff, trying to come out of their back lane driveways,” said Josh Jay, a tow-truck driver for CAA Manitoba.
Just before rush hour, the wait for a tow truck in Winnipeg was just over one hour.
The weather wasn't bad for everyone, however.
Dwight Lysak, who operates a front-end loader cleared snow for 14-hours from Wednesday through the night into Thursday morning. And he'll do more tonight, raking in the money.
"They call this white gold. So the more snow for us with equipment, the merrier," he said. "It's long nights, but it's worth it."
Sage Creek residents steamed over snow plow times
The huge dump of snow had residents in Winnipeg’s Sage Creek neighbourhood struggling to get out of their homes, as major snow drifts had blown into the area.
Snow accumulation was so high that school buses couldn’t get through the mess.
And though the buses were up and running by the afternoon, some residents say the streets should have been cleared sooner.
“It's getting dangerous. We have seen a lot of people, you know, [having] near misses and accidents especially at the roundabouts. They weren't quite out as quickly yesterday to hit the streets with the roundabouts, so those roundabouts became very dangerous,” said Ryan Bauer, who moved to the neighbourhood three months ago. “I definitely think it’s time for them to come and start plowing.”
The isolated new development sits on the edge of the southeast corner of Winnipeg, and snow drifts can be a major problem, according to city officials.
“We've had significant drifting out in the Sage Creek area, and we've got crews out there this morning and continuing today to open up the streets that have been blocked by the snow,” said Allen. “It’s an outlying area. It’s really the wind. It was the primary factor in creating those drifts on those streets.”
But Bauer said he wants to see plows out sooner.
“If you’re going to be increasing my taxes, I’d like to see more out of what I’m paying for,” said Bauer. “You know, we’re paying good money and not getting the services back from the city.”
Next week, the Sage Creek Residents’ Association is set to meet with city officials to discuss plowing in the area.