People in southern Manitoba are dealing with a blast of winter weather this weekend, as winds and steady snowfall make roads slippery and snow-packed.
A winter storm warning has been in effect across southern Manitoba, including the cities of Winnipeg and Brandon, as a system that brought heavy snowfall to Alberta and Saskatchewan swept eastward.
The RCMP closed a section of the Trans-Canada Highway Saturday evening extending from Winnipeg to Brandon.
And Highway 1 between Headingly and Portage La Prairie has been billed as dangerous and travel is not recommended due to extremely slippery conditions.
Road conditions were dicey across the south, snow-packed with ice, as temperatures hovered around –5 C and winds gusted up to 40 kilometres an hour, reducing visibility on highways in many areas.
Manitoba Transportation spokesman Neil Gobelle says while no highways have been closed to date, drivers are urged to stay home unless travel is absolutely necessary.
"We do have a lot of snow-covered roads, partly covered, [and] there's some ice in there too and the winds are blowing and we're seeing a lot of swirling snow in traffic, reducing visibility," he said Saturday.
"If you don't have to be going out on the highway, just stay home."
More snow on the way
Winnipeg was mostly spared on Saturday, receiving about three to five centimetres of snow. Streets were largely slushy during the day.
But CBC News meteorologist John Sauder warns that more snow is on the way, falling steadily on Saturday night, while parts of the southeast could see freezing rain mixed with snow.
"We're not off the hook. Most of the snow is still to come," Sauder said.
"When I say 20 to 30 centimetres here in the Winnipeg area, there will be pockets of accumulation that will continue through the rest of the day and through tonight," he added.
"I think Sunday will be mostly the dig out and the shovelling day. And Monday we'll still have some leftover flurries as well."
Environment Canada says Winnipeggers can expect to see 10 to 15 centimetres of snow, and possibly some freezing drizzle, on Saturday evening.
The storm dumped upwards of 20 centimetres of snow in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Communities in western Manitoba and the western Interlake region received more snow. Areas around Riding Mountain National Park were expected to receive up to 40 centimetres.
Parks Canada has advised people driving on Highway 10 through the park to be careful, as there may be icy sections, drifting snow and poor visibility, as well as the risk of colliding with wildlife.
No serious accidents
RCMP said some vehicles ended up in the ditch around rural Manitoba, but there were no reports of injury.
Freezing rain was causing extremely icy conditions on provincial roads south of Winnipeg.
A semi-trailer flipped over on the Trans-Canada Highway near Deacon's Corner, just outside the city, on Saturday morning. No one was injured.
There were some minor delays in arrivals and departures at Winnipeg's James A. Richardson International Airport, but no major disruptions were reported.
Gobelle said it will take the weekend for crews to clear rural highways, even though they are working around the clock.
"Even after it's moved on, I'm expecting high winds to continue, which is going to blow snow back on the highways after we've plowed," he said.
"It's going to be a real challenge for the next day or two."
Darryl Jones of Brandon, Man., said the city was in a virtual whiteout on Saturday morning, as high winds buffeted vehicles both in the city and on surrounding highways.
"The wind is actually coming out of the north, northeast and it's pushing — actually, it's pushing my car toward the centre of the highway, and at times you can't find the centre of the highway with the snowdrifts," he said.
Street clearing underway in Winnipeg
The City of Winnipeg said Saturday that plowing and sanding of streets is underway, starting with major routes. Motorists have been advised to drive with caution and to be on the lookout for snow-clearing equipment.
The city says it has dispatched about 130 pieces of equipment for the cleanup effort, including front-end loaders and plow trucks. No winter parking bans are in effect at this time, but officials say that could change depending on how much snow falls in the coming days.
Residents can log on to the city's website to get parking ban notifications sent to them by email or via Twitter.
Winnipeggers who have cleared their driveways and want to dump their snow can do so at the city's snow disposal sites, which are now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.