WINNIPEG — A Colorado low weather system expected later this week in southern Manitoba has the potential to be “the worst blizzard in decades,” according to Environment Canada.
The weather agency issued a winter storm watch on Monday for the major spring blizzard poised to wallop southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan mid-week. Widespread snowfall accumulations of 30-50 cm are expected, with possible amounts reaching 80 cm in the higher terrain of western Manitoba and the western Red River Valley.
The snow will begin to fall Tuesday evening near the U.S. border and track northward throughout the night into Wednesday morning, accompanied by strong northerly winds expected to continue through early Friday.
“Travel will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses Wednesday, with widespread highway closures a near-certainty,” Environment Canada says. “By Wednesday evening even travel within communities may become impossible as the heavy snow and strong winds continue… and more of the same is expected on Thursday.
“Do not plan to travel – this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades. Stock up on needed supplies and medications now. Power outages are likely, rural areas in particular should be prepared for extended outages.”
By Friday, conditions should improve as the winds taper off and the band of heavy snow moves into northern Ontario. However, the clean-up from the storm will likely last well into next week.
Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit.
For comparison, Manitoba’s “flood of the century” in 1997 was the result of 48 cm of snow that began to fall on April 4, 1997.