Manitoba

'Full-on winter': Snowstorm closes The Pas schools for 1st time in 30 years

Students in The Pas are in for a second consecutive snow day Wednesday after schools in the northern Manitoba town closed for the first time in three decades due to a snow storm.

Kelsey School Division to close doors again Wednesday as snow continues to pummel northern Manitoba town

Buses won't be running and schools will be closed again Wednesday in The Pas after a snowstorm forced students and teachers to stay home Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Students in The Pas are in for a second consecutive snow day after schools in the northern Manitoba town closed for the first time in decades due to a snowstorm.

Weather and road conditions were so treacherous Tuesday that for the first time in 30 years, the Kelsey School Division was forced to close its doors.

"It's really unheard of here," said Brooke Lane, a teacher in The Pas who grew up in the community.

"There's been times when our buses have been cancelled, but that's been mainly due to the cold weather and ice. But not due to this amount of snow."

Lane was stuck at home with her three kids and husband Tuesday and will be again for a second day, as all schools in the division will remain closed Wednesday.

The community was under 30 to 40 centimetres of the white stuff by early Tuesday afternoon as snow continued to fall. An Environment Canada blowing snow advisory was in place in the area into the evening Tuesday.

Julia McKay, superintendent for the division, said no one among the division's ranks could remember a time when they had to close schools in The Pas and adjacent Opaskwayak Cree Nation due to snow.

"We actually probably have more snow now than we've had all winter," McKay told CBC News Tuesday.

Wild weather has thrown a cog into other plans in The Pas this winter.

"Middle of February we were outside with the kids and we could see grass and the kids wanted to take their bikes out," Lane said. "Now we've got the Ski-Doo out."

A few weeks back, the annual Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival in The Pas faced unusually low amounts of snow, forcing organizers to cancel dog sled races and change a snowboarding competition into an outdoor BMX and skateboarding event.

That could explain why, as Lane said, "everyone is excited about the snow" over the past two days in The Pas.

"It may be a bit of love-hate with the snow, but I am hearing a lot of Ski-Doos around as people haven't been able to use those this winter very much," she said. "It's been a change of mindset. We're full-on winter now."

Dozens of highway and school closures were in effect Tuesday, with several school divisions announcing by early Tuesday evening that schools would also be closed Wednesday.

Visit the CBC News StormCentre web page for a comprehensive list of closures.

With files from Sarah Penton

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