WINNIPEG — An unwelcome spring snowstorm could bring as much as 60 cm or more of snow to parts of southern Manitoba in the coming days.
Environment Canada is tracking a Colorado low moving towards Minnesota Tuesday night and then into the Canadian prairies late Tuesday and into Wednesday.
“The axis of heaviest snow looks to remain through North Dakota but large accumulations are still expected in southern Manitoba, notably near the international border,” a special weather statement issued on Sunday said.
“Storm-total snowfall accumulations near the US border may approach 60 cm. North of this region, general storm-total accumulations of 20 to 40+ cm are possible, including for the city of Winnipeg.”
The weather agency also says strong northerly winds and blowing snow for southern Manitoba will accompany the storm system. Winds of 60 to 70 km/h are likely, with the strongest winds being in the Red River Valley with gusts up to 80 km/h at times Wednesday night into Thursday, according to Environment Canada.
Paired with the heavy accumulation of snow, strong winds will also reduce visibility in the region, with blowing snow likely Wednesday night through Thursday as temperatures somewhat cool.
Conditions are expected to begin improving by Friday as winds taper off and the heaviest snow moves into northern Ontario.
Flood forecasters watching the forecast
A spring snowstorm is the last thing Manitoba needs amid the current flood season. The province activated the Red River Floodway on Friday to alleviate water levels within the city of Winnipeg.
Flood forecasters say they are monitoring the weather system and its impact on flows and river levels as the system develops and progresses throughout the week.
“I’m hoping that Colorado low goes to Oklahoma or somewhere else,” Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson told ChrisD.ca on Saturday while speaking on the flooded Selkirk waterfront.
“That’s the last thing that we really need. We’ve had a great thaw here — the temperature was perfect at 0C to 5C. There was snow about a quarter-mile high around here and now we’re seeing grass. So we don’t need any of that. We don’t need any rain either. If there’s talk of 30 cm of snow or maybe 30 mm of rain, we don’t need either.”
Johannson said the storm system wouldn’t impact Selkirk’s flooding situation too drastically but would rather create a mess.
“We’re kind of in clean-up mode and get-out-golfing mode now. We’re anxious for spring.”
On Saturday, Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre reported the Red River had peaked between Emerson and St. Adolphe. A flood warning remains in effect for the Red River from St. Jean Baptiste to Morris, at St. Adolphe and in the vicinity of Selkirk due to ice jamming.