A major spring blizzard is “poised to wallop” southern Manitoba for three days this week and has the potential to be the worst storm in decades, says Environment Canada.
In an updated storm watch on Monday, the weather agency said widespread snowfall amounts of 30-50 centimetres are expected, along with north winds gusting from 70-90 km/h, giving zero visibility at times.
Much higher amounts, possibly approaching 80 cm, could be seen in the higher terrain of western Manitoba and western Red River Valley.
The system, a Colorado low, is on track to hit the province starting Tuesday night and last through to Friday before it heads into northwestern Ontario.
It will begin near the International border Tuesday night as the system moves toward Minnesota, and continue to push northward.
By Wednesday morning there will be heavy snow falling from southeastern Saskatchewan through most of southern Manitoba, Environment Canada says.
“Travel will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses Wednesday, with widespread highway closures a near-certainty,” Environment Canada’s weather alert states.
“By Wednesday evening even travel within communities may become impossible as the heavy snow and strong winds continue. And more of the same is expected on Thursday.”
Forecast storm position as of 7 am Wed Apr 13 via Canadian RDPS model. Strong low moving into central Minnesota with snow spreading into srn MB from the south. Snow expected to start in Winnipeg Wed am. Storm forecast to move slowly over nrn MN thru Thu before heading east <a href=”https://t.co/8SCNjBeEW8″>pic.twitter.com/8SCNjBeEW8</a>
Do not plan to travel and stock up on needed supplies and medications now, the alert states, adding “this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades.”
Power outages are likely and rural areas in particular should be prepared for extended outages.
Conditions should begin to improve on Friday as the winds taper off and the heaviest snow moves east, “although the clean-up after this storm will likely last well into next week,” Environment Canada says.