Widespread winter storm warnings continue to blanket the prairies of eastern and northwestern Ontario as a powerful system brings significant snow and dangerous blizzard conditions.
This is shaping up to be a historic high-impact storm with heavy snow and gusty winds that are creating periods of dangerous whiteout conditions in many areas. Blizzard warnings are also in effect.
Snowfall will continue for southeastern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario on Thursday. Most of the snow from this system will have fallen by Wednesday, but many areas will continue to see more snow throughout the day on Thursday. Accumulation will be higher in certain areas due to powerful snow bands that will develop from the northerly flow.
The winds will also continue to be quite strong with gusts of 50-70 km/h. These winds can cause snow drifts, which can lead to reduced or even no visibility.
“Travel is expected to be extremely dangerous due to reduced visibility. Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult,” Environment Canada and Climate Change said in the blizzard warning for Dauphin on Wednesday night.
Snowfall rates will begin to decrease during the second half of Thursday and become more localized Friday morning. There will still be localized snow bands with strong gusts that could catch drivers off guard when roads begin to reopen on Friday.
WATCH NEXT: A LOOK AT THE MID-APRIL SNOWSTORM
Widespread snow totals of 30-50cm are possible, with some points possibly collecting as much as 50-75cm for when all is said and done. However, it can be difficult to measure exact amounts of snow due to blowing and accumulating snow.
Strong northerly winds gusting to 70 km/h will persist through Friday morning as the low slowly turns through Minnesota on its way to northwestern Ontario.
Power outages are likely and rural areas in particular should be prepared for prolonged outages. Additionally, school cancellations are widespread.
It has been 25 years since all Winnipeg metro schools were forced to close due to weather. On Tuesday night, it was announced that all schools and administrative offices in the city will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, and staff are encouraged to stay home.
In Estevan, a 12-inch-plus snowstorm after April 11 has only occurred twice since 1902, and officials noted that this storm will likely become “historic.”
The weather over the weekend will be a welcome break from the harsh conditions. On Saturday there will still be some gusty winds at times, but by Sunday conditions will finally be much calmer.
“A favorable temperature trend beyond this system appears to help flooding concerns, with daytime highs forecast to remain below freezing until at least the middle of next week,” says Kelly Sonnenburg, meteorologist for The Weather Network. .
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest on prairie conditions.