Heavy snow, poor driving conditions close highways in Manitoba

The calendar may say April, but it looked more like Christmas in parts of the province Wednesday morning thanks to a dump of snow from a low-pressure weather system.

Snowfall warning in effect for much of southern Manitoba

Trucks were backed up on Highway 1 in Brandon Wednesday afternoon after the road was closed all the way to the Saskatchewan border, due to heavy snowfall in the region. The highway has since reopened. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

A dump of snow from a low-pressure weather system Wednesday morning has forced the closure of several highways across Manitoba — and more snow is expected to hit a wide swath of the province in the next two days.

On Wednesday afternoon, two major highways were closed to traffic: Highway 1 from Saskatchewan to Brandon and Highway 16 from Saskatchewan to Neepawa.

By 6 p.m. Wednesday, the province announced both highways had reopened.

By 11 p.m., the province announced several other highways which had been closed earlier in the day had reopened, including:

  • Highway 5, from the Saskatchewan border to Roblin.
  • Highway 45, from Russell to Rossburn.
  • Highway 83, from Russell to Roblin.

The western edge of Manitoba was under a snowfall warning earlier Wednesday.

By Wednesday afternoon, virtually all of southern and central Manitoba — with the exception of the province's southwest corner — was under a snowfall warning.

From five to 15 centimetres of snow is expected to fall across south central and eastern Manitoba Thursday and into Friday, according to Environment Canada, with precipitation starting as rain Wednesday evening and gradually changing to snow.

The area east of Winnipeg is expected to see the heaviest snowfall, with totals of 10 to 25 centimetres, the weather agency said. The western parts of the Red River Valley and Interlake, including Winnipeg, are expected to see less, with a total of five to 15 centimetres of snow falling.

The areas in red are under an Environment Canada snowfall warning. (Environment Canada)

On Wednesday, 10 to 20 centimetres of snow were forecast for the southwest, due to a low-pressure system tracking northward from the Canada-U.S. border up to Duck Mountain, CBC meteorologist John Sauder said.

Shoal Lake and Russell were already getting snowfall and slippery conditions Wednesday morning. 

Parts of Highway 16, 83 and 45, north, south and east of Russell, are closed as a result of weather conditions. 

Many roads west of Portage la Prairie are partially covered in ice and/or snow, while blowing snow is causing poor visibility as well, said Derek Trainer, a spokesperson with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation. 

Crews have been out clearing roads since Wednesday morning. 

Though the forecast calls for above-zero temperatures Wednesday, Winnipeg could see close to 10 centimetres starting Thursday as rain changes to snow, Sauder said. 

This shot from a Manitoba highway camera shows the intersection of highways 16 and 21 at Shoal Lake on Wednesday morning. Highway 16 is closed west of Shoal Lake. (Manitoba 511)


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