Snow joke, Manitoba getting covered again

Ugh. More snow. A late-season storm is bringing five to 10 centimeters of snow to most of southern Manitoba and up to 30 cm to Fargo.
Winnipeg and southern Manitoba has been walloped by the fourth blast of snow this spring, frustrating many winter-weary people. 2:01
Up to 10 centimetres of snow is expected in Winnipeg on Monday. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Manitobans groaned as they slogged through another spring snowstorm on Monday.

The late-season storm, stirred up by a low pressure system in North Dakota, has brought five to 10 centimetres of snow to much of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg.

"With that comes very strong winds. We'll see northeasterly winds gusting to 60 km/h today," CBC weather specialist Marilyn Maki said Monday morning.

"So that is definitely going to cause some visibility problems on the highways."

A late-season storm is being stirred up by a low pressure system in North Dakota. (Claudine Richard-Beaudoin/CBC)

It's already wet and slushy on the roads and highways officials say conditions deteriorate as you move into the eastern half of the province.

That's where the heaviest snowfall is happening as the low pressure system tracks into northerwestern Ontario.

This snow is exactly what the Red River Valley doesn't need.

Jeff Makowski, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said Fargo is already looking at major flooding this spring and is now facing a fresh dumping of possibly 30 centimeters of snow by the end of the storm.

So much snow was falling in North Dakota that both Interstate 29 and Interstate 94 were closed on Monday morning.

Hydro problems

Also on Monday, thousands of Manitoba Hydro customers in Winnipeg were without power following several hydro pole fires in the Fort Richmond, St. James and West Kildonan neighbourhoods.

The first fire started at about 7 a.m., plunging Fort Richmond residents into darkness for a few hours.

Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider said the heavy snow has been causing the fires.

"That can act … to break down the insulation value of the equipment, the insulators on the line, and therefore the current on the conductor can reach the wood pole or the cross arm and a fire can start," Schneider said.

Blowing the budget

The City of Winnipeg is expecting to be way over budget when it comes to snow removal this year.

The budget for the calendar year is $26.2 million. By the end of February, the city had already spent $26 million.

A city spokesperson said they expect to be over budget by about $5.3 millions by the time the numbers from March are added.

Frustrated farmers

Farmers in southern Manitoba are wincing at all the latest snow.

Last year many producers had all their crops planted by now. This year they have no clue when they'll get on the land.

Doug Chorney, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers, the largest farm lobby group in the province, said if farmers can't get their crops planted in early May they will see reduced yields.

If the snow lasts too long, some crops may not be planted.

"Like every farmer, we're getting concerned. It's very late in the year for all this snow to be on the ground, and then to get more precipitation creates concern about when we're going to get on the land and what this will do to flood risk," he said.