Spring snowstorm rolls into southern Manitoba, impacting some school buses

A spring snowstorm — yes, another spring snowstorm — in southern Manitoba has prompted some school bus cancellations, though schools remain open.

Buses will not run on Wednesday for schools in the following divisions:

  • Turtle River School Division.
  • Rolling River School Division.
  • Beautiful Plains School Division.

Much of western Manitoba and southwestern Manitoba are under a storm warning. The storm is expected to bring heavy snowfall and gusting winds that will stir the snow up and create visibility issues.

Anywhere from 15-40 centimetres of snow is expected to fall as a Colorado low crosses into Canada Wednesday morning.

Most of the snow is likely to fall on Wednesday, but it will continue into Thursday for many locations, Environment Canada forecast.

Winds as strong as 50 km/h, gusting to 70 km/h, will be part of the system, the weather agency’s alert says.

“You don’t want to drive west. You don’t want to go west of the Red River Valley, west of Portage La Prairie, on the highways today,” CBC Manitoba meteorologist John Sauder said.

“I do think that some of those highways will be closing even into Saskatchewan. That’s where the worst of this is going to be as far as today is concerned.”

A map shows southern Manitoba with parts of eastern Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario. Areas are colour-coded for winter storm warnings and special weather statements.
Areas in red are under a winter storm warning and those in grey are under special weather statements. The areas in yellow in Ontario are subject to a winter storm watch. (Environment Canada)

While those areas deal with a stormy Wednesday, areas to the east — from the Red River Valley, including Winnipeg  and the south Interlake, across to the Ontario border — will largely be spared from the worst conditions, Environment Canada said.

Scattered rain showers, mixed at times with wet snow, is forecast for those areas on Wednesday.

But then there’s Thursday.

A second weather disturbance will push north out of the United States, bringing another round of heavy, wet snow to southern Manitoba, Environment Canada says.

That system is expected to bring another 10-20 cm of snow, roughly from Brandon to the Ontario border.

“It’s a complicated setup though, because a lot of this snow is melting, because we’ve had some sunshine, we’ve had some warm temperatures. There is some heat in the ground, so it’ll melt on contact,” Sauder said.

“So snowfall accumulation amounts are really tough to peg down at this point.”

Snowfall rates will be intense at times, so warnings are likely coming for some regions, Environment Canada said.

That second system will persist through much of Friday before finally pulling out of the province in the evening.

Below normal temperatures are forecast in the wake of the system, with single-digit highs.

“Normal high right now is 12 C. I see us at about 10 degrees below that for both days of the weekend, and overnight lows will be in that that –8 C to –11 C range,” Sauder said. “So it’s going to be cold for a while.”

Seasonal temperatures aren’t expected to return until the middle of next week.

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