Manitoba storm remains unpredictable: Environment Canada

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Environment Canada says the total amount of snow that has fallen in southern Manitoba is lower than previously forecasted, but notes the province isn’t out of the woods yet as a Colorado low makes its way north.


Natalie Hasell with Environment Canada said as of Wednesday morning, Winnipeg saw between 15 and 20 centimetres of snow before a break occurred. She said the snow is expected to start up again later in the afternoon.


“We’ll see more accumulation later today. So, you know, 40 centimetres sounds very reasonable; 50 centimetres is still within the realm of possibility,” Hasell said. “So I wouldn’t discount anything yet when it comes to the storm.”


Environment Canada initially predicted Winnipeg could receive between 30 and 50 cm of snow.


The Brandon area, which has been hit hard, remains under blizzard conditions. Environment Canada said the Westman region will be the hardest hit by the snow. Hasell said shortly after noon, the Brandon airport reported wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour and visibility of up to 200 metres.


“We’re not expecting the break to get very far west,” she said.


She added, “The improvement that the rest of the province will see is timed for about the same for the southwestern corner. So, it’s not much of a difference. Really, maybe in some ways it’s worse because we were expecting larger amounts of precipitation in parts of the southwestern corner, and they’re not going to see this gap. So they don’t get a break.”


Lighter snow will continue to fall overnight and throughout Thursday in Winnipeg and southeastern Manitoba, finally tapering off Friday morning as the system begins to push further east into northwestern Ontario.


FORECAST CALLS FOR SLOW MELT, WILL NOT HAVE BIG IMPACT ON RUNOFF


Though more snow is in the forecast, colder temperatures will avoid significant runoff.


“The best thing that can happen is we have a slow melt and that is what the forecast is calling for,” said Doyle Piwnuik, minister of transportation and infrastructure.


“This snowfall is supposed to happen now, but the bright side about it is it’s not supposed to melt until possibly Tuesday when we actually get a positive temperature and it is going to be a slow melt. That is the best conditions that we can hope for because the fact is the rivers will come down in the next week.”


The province said due to the slow melt, the snowfall will not have an immediate or significant impact on runoff. The province said runoff forecasts will be updated and published once it knows the extent and magnitude of the snowfall.


-With files from Jill Macyshon 

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