We're waking up to a snowy, slushy and slick mess Thursday morning as round one of this week's snowfall begins to taper off this morning. Highways throughout the region are reported as partly snow and slush-covered, with fair visibility in blowing snow. The Snowfall warning has ended for much of Southern Manitoba, with only areas east of the Red River remaining.
Portage la Prairie was never under a snowfall warning although the city was right on the edge of it.
"The first round of this early season storm has played out pretty much as we expected," said CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "Based on early reports, at least 5 to 10cms of snow fell Wednesday afternoon to this morning, but we need to keep in mind some of the snow yesterday melted on contact, before a layer built up on yards, and fields and as temperatures cooled in the evening, roadways."
Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure is responsible for maintaining 19,000 kilometers of provincial roads and is ready to clear highways as needed according to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Lisa Naylor. The department monitors weather forecasts and plans its operation with a fleet of approximately 340 truck plows, motor graders, and de-icing equipment.
Listeners reported Highway 240 between St Claude and Portage is covered in a thin layer of snow and ice and is messy in spots. Many have reported bridges in the area are quite slippery as well.
Similar to Wednesday, Sumner cautions that people can't let their guard down just yet because the Snowfall Warning has ended.
"Most regions will see another round of significant snowfall, but due to the amount of snow and the timeline it's expected to fall, it is slightly below Warning criteria, that's why the western Red River Valley and areas west to the Saskatchewan border are no longer part of it."
Very light snow may still fall throughout the day Thursday but a further 5 to 10cms is expected tonight from wave two, along with northerly winds picking up to 40 km/h.
"Winds haven't been too much of a factor, to this point, but as we see gusty conditions develop, Thursday night blowing snow will be an additional factor to consider when thinking about travelling, alongside the return to wintry conditions."
Sumner stressed, most areas will see a lull in snowfall for part of Thursday, but moderate to heavy snowfall rates are expected to redevelop by mid to late afternoon, and then continue Thursday night into Friday morning.
"We're still on track for totals between 10 and 20cms between Wednesday and late Friday morning," he said, adding the general guidance is still pointing to the highest totals ending up near the U.S. border. "Again, will it look like we have 20cms of snow on the ground come Friday afternoon? Perhaps not due to how warm it still is, but overall, this early season storm will be a significant snowmaker for much of Southern Manitoba."
Flurries will continue to be a possibility throughout the day Friday, with northwesterly winds gusting to 40 km/h, and temperatures falling to -3 to -5 as colder air arrives ahead of the weekend. Saturday and Sunday will see sunshine return, with daytime highs, potentially, more than ten degrees below average for this time of year, landing around -5.
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