The big storm that Manitobans have been bracing for for the past two days blew into the province overnight and is expected to keep blowing through Friday.
According to Environment Canada, most of the snow is expected by Wednesday, accompanied by a strong northeasterly wind.
By the time the storm finally subsides, forecasters are looking at a range of 12 to 16 inches of snow for Winnipeg, as well as 16 to 24 inches for the western Red River Valley, including Portage la Prairie and Morden.
Western Manitoba expects 10 to 20 inches, while eastern Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba should see 8 to 16 inches of snowfall.
Scott Kehler of weather firm Weatherlogics told 680 CJOB The beginning Although the snow arrived in the province a little later than expected, the system has not slowed down.
“We had those strong northeasterly winds and those winds were pretty dry, so they were eating away at the edge of the snow moving in from the south a little bit,” Kehler said.
“Eventually the snow beat the dry air, and now we are starting to see those heavier bands installed, so the day will get progressively worse from here on out.
“We will continue to see these very heavy bands of snow go by.”
Winnipeggers talk about the first hours of the blizzard
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Manitoba RCMP closed major roads overnight in an effort to help prevent people from being stranded in the storm.
Among other closures across the province, all Winnipeg metro school divisions took the rare step of canceling all bus service and classes on Wednesday and Thursday, and several rural school divisions did the same.
Winnipeg’s Main Street Project says it has opened a 24-hour temporary shelter space to help Winnipeg who have nowhere to go during the storm and would otherwise be living on the streets.
“It’s really important that people have a safe place to go when the weather is bad; that means people who normally find their way abroad don’t have that option,” Mahmood said.
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“We will be serving three meals a day, providing clothing and all the supplies that people need. People can stay there all the time, no one has to go out in the cold.”
Mahmood said the Main Street Project has already been active with its van outreach program, visiting homeless people and letting them know about the coming storm and helping them with needed supplies.
Main Street Project establishes a temporary expanded shelter
Big events, like the Winnipeg Jets’ game against the Seattle Kraken, originally scheduled for Wednesday night at the Canada Life Centre, have been postponed.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) Deputy Chief Jay Shaw told Global News on Wednesday morning that snowplows were preparing to hit the city streets.
“The big snowpack is just starting to fall,” Shaw said.
“As that starts to happen and we start to see those accumulations, the city’s major snow removal operations will begin shortly.
“What will happen from there is that you will see the need to stay off the roads as much as possible to allow us to clear those (priority) streets 1 so that we can have access to emergency services and critical and essential services. .”
Shaw said the city has contingency plans to make sure paramedics and firefighters can handle 911 calls despite extreme weather.
City street maintenance manager Michael Cantor told 680 CJOB at 10 a.m. that snow plows were already on the streets.
“A citywide truck plowing operation is underway. Crews are focusing on our regional streets, collectors and bus routes, including sidewalks and driveways,” Cantor said.
“We are probably going to re-plough them several times during this event.
“We are also addressing the trouble spots due to snowdrifts throughout the city.”
An extended snow road parking ban will go into effect at midnight.
WFPS Deputy Director Jay Shaw on street plowing
Outside of the city, in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region, a unique contingency plan is in place to ensure healthcare workers can get to work safely during the storm.
“We partnered with the Southern Emergency Response Committee, and they have organized a convoy for all of our staff to work over the next couple of days,” Southern Health’s Lorraine Cassan told Global News.
“They are meeting in Winkler at the Winkler Arena and then in Morden at the Access Center. They are doing that three times a day. They’ve arranged for a snow plow to go first, and then there’s a fire truck, and the staff will be able to follow them so they can get to work safely.
“It will really help us get our staff on board so we can take care of our patients.”
Southern Health region helps healthcare workers get there safely
Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris told Global News that his community was hit particularly hard during the devastating Thanksgiving storm in 2019, but plans are in place to make sure a similar experience doesn’t happen again.
“We have definitely made a lot of changes; It was a great learning experience two and a half years ago,” Ferris said.
“That happened going into a long weekend. It really started on Friday, and overnight on Friday we lost power to 90 percent of our city, including hospitals and care facilities.”
Ferris said the city of Portage has taken a number of steps to mitigate some of the issues that arose during that crisis, including installing large generators and reserve tanks filled with diesel to run those generators.
“I think our community did a very good job of reacting last time, and this time we feel like we’re prepared for this storm if it’s similar to 2019.”
Mayor of Portage la Prairie in the storm
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