A thick fresh blanket of snow in southern Manitoba left roads slippery and drift-covered, causing many vehicles to end up in ditches during Thursday's morning commute.
There were near-whiteout conditions in swirling snow on some highways just outside Winnipeg, particularly McGillivray Boulevard, the Trans-Canada Highway and north of Winnipeg, in the Selkirk area.
A number of highways were described as slalom courses, forcing drivers to move left and right to avoid the drifts.
Chris Anderson, who lives about five minutes south of Winnipeg, said it was a slow, strange drive into the city.
"It's kind of a lumpy ride. It's like driving on the waves, except it's the snow," he said.
Several vehicles littered ditches in Headingley and emergency crews were called to a number of minor crashes throughout Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, towing crews worked shortly after 7 a.m. to haul a semi-trailer out of a ditch at the Perimeter Highway east and Lagimodiere Boulevard.
About 10 centimetres of snow fell in the Winnipeg area Wednesday evening and through the night. There was still a light snowfall coming down Thursday morning.
So far this year, Winnipeg has seen 117.6 cm of snow fall. In 2013, the city was at 116.6 cm. Those numbers are 63 per cent higher than the normal snowfall amounts for the city.
Bad for The Forks River Trail
All the extra snow is causing trouble at The Forks, where crews are working hard to shovel and maintain the River Trail.
Dave Pancoe, The Forks’ manager of special projects, said the conditions have been less than ideal for the trail.
“The weight of the snow — it pushes down on the ice, and it makes a slush and it pushes the water up over on top of the ice,” said Pancoe. “The snow on top stops it from freezing.”
Crews have been working hard all season to keep the trail in good condition, but freezing cold temperatures aren’t making it any easier.
“It feels like if it's not -50 C, it's snowing 10 cm this year,” Pancoe said. “It's been a battle!”
End to the chill?
After suffering through two months of extreme cold that made many people wonder why they live in this province, southern Manitobans could finally be getting a break.
CBC meteorologist John Sauder is calling for a warm-up to start on the weekend, with a high of –7 C on Sunday and temperatures soaring to –4 C on Monday and –3 for Tuesday. Sauder says temperatures should be in the single digits from Sunday to Thursday.
Normal temperatures for this time of year are a high of –8 C and overnight low of –19 C.