Manitoba

Spring snowstorm pummels parts of Manitoba, plunges temperatures

The spring snowstorm that left a trail of wreckage in Saskatchewan and Alberta before cutting through central Manitoba overnight has mostly moved off into northwestern Ontario, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Mike Russo.

Flin Flon area buried in at least 30 cm of snow, while winds whip through Winnipeg

Flags gets whipped up at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg on Tuesday morning as the tail-end of a spring snowstorm blows through. (John Einarson/CBC)

It's nasty out there but take heart — it is nearly over.

The spring snowstorm that left a trail of wreckage in Saskatchewan and Alberta before cutting through central Manitoba overnight has mostly moved off into northwestern Ontario, according to Environment Canada.

"We're currently experiencing the weather on the back side of it," meteorologist Mike Russo said early Tuesday morning.

But it is not exiting quietly. Howling winds are rattling, clanging and banging street lights, flag poles and anything else trying to resist the strong gusts.

"The precipitation that's tied with it is now wrapping into southern Manitoba and coming through the Winnipeg area as we speak," Russo said.

Winnipeg is expected to only get a skiff of snow, maybe a couple of centimetres, whereas the highest amounts fell around Flin Flon, which will likely top 30 cm once the final count is in, Russo said.

The bigger story for the south is the winds, which reached 100 km/h at one point in the Killarney area, in the province's southwest.

That's causing the layer of fresh snow to swirl around and impact visibility, Russo said, noting visibility at the Winnipeg James Richardson International Airport dropped as low as 800 metres at times Tuesday morning.

Winnipeg was spared from the brunt of the storm but intense winds left their mark. (John Einarson/CBC)

Wind warnings had extended from Gimli down to Winnipeg and west to Portage la Prairie before being lifted just as the sun was coming up.

However, winter storm warnings and blowing snow advisories are still affecting a wide swath of the province.

The conditions have resulted in a number of highway closures. They have also prompted the province to advise anyone who can't make it to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment to reschedule by calling 1-844-626-8222 or by going online.

Prairie Mountain Health region has cancelled a vaccine clinic scheduled in Russell for Tuesday. It is being rescheduled for Thursday.

All appointment times will remain the same and no one needs to rebook, a spokesperson said.

The most intense winds are expected to gradually ease up through the day but strong wind gusts of about 70 km/h will stick around for the morning.

Those will diminish to about 50 km/h through the afternoon, Russo said.

The weather has also played havoc with the electrical grid. Manitoba Hydro is reporting "several outages across the province" with no estimated times for restoration just yet.

Clear skies and cold temperatures will come in the wake of the storm with an overnight low in the south expected to drop to –16 C.

"[Those are] temperatures we haven't seen in a little while. The good news is, is we are expecting things to kind of rebound as we get into the latter portion of the week," Russo said.

"The forecast right now calling for a daytime high of about 8 C for Thursday, which pretty much puts us above our average value for this time of the year. The average for Winnipeg's around 5 C right now.

"And as we get into Friday and Saturday, double-digit highs return."

It's a bit of a roller-coaster ride, Russo said, after Winnipeg set a warm temperature record on Monday by hitting 20 C.

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