Winnipeg highways reopen after being closed by blowing snow

A sign at the western edge of Winnipeg notifies drivers that that Trans-Canada Highway is closed. Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

WINNIPEG – The Trans-Canada Highway from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie and two other Manitoba highways that closed Thursday due to poor visibility caused by blowing snow are now reopened.  The closures slowed down the commute on the highways.

“We work in Portage La Prairie and so we had to do some fancy footwork to get back home,” said one commuter pulled over at a gas station.

Truck drivers were frustrated by their schedules being slowed down but said it’s worth taking the time to be cautious.

“You just have to do what you can to use your skills and everything you’ve been taught and learned in your career,” said a driver at The Flying J.

Red River Valley and Portage la Prairie school divisions cancelled all school buses and rural buses are cancelled in Prairie Rose School Division Thursday afternoon because of the weather.

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Highway 5 from McCreary north to Highway 68 and Highway 75 from Morris south to the U.S. border were also closed, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation said in a notification sent out early Thursday afternoon. Those highways later reopened. Anyone planning to travel on Manitoba highways is advised to check the Manitoba road report.

A crash between two semi-trailer trucks and a pickup at 11:30 a.m. at Headingley helped prompt the closure of the Trans-Canada, RCMP said in a news release. The man driving the pickup truck was taken to hospital in stable condition, police said. No other injuries were reported.

Vehicles are being kept off the Trans-Canada Highway from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie in poor visibility caused by blowing snow. Highways 5 north of McCreary and 75 south of Morris are also closed. Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News
Closure signs can be seen on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg. Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

Much of southern Manitoba was under a blowing snow advisory as an Alberta clipper passes through North Dakota.

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Poor visibility was expected or occurring across the southwestern and south-central parts of the province on Thursday, Environment Canada advised.

The Alberta clipper over North Dakota brought snow and winds as high as 50 kilometres per hour and gusting to 70 km/h.

Visibilities were expected to be reduced to less than 800 metres at times beginning Thursday morning in southwestern Manitoba and in the southern Red River Valley by early afternoon. Reduced visibilities are also expected over Manitoba lakes.

“Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations,” the Environment Canada advisory says. “Visibility may be significantly and suddenly reduced to near zero.”

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Blowing snow advisories ended for these areas:

  • Brandon, Carberry, Treherne;
  • Portage la Prairie, Headingley, Brunkild, Carman;
  • Morden, Winkler, Altona, Emerson, Morris;
  • Steinbach, St. Adolphe, Dominion City, Vita, Richer;
  • Virden, Souris;
  • Melita, Boissevain, Turtle Mountain Provincial Park; and
  • Killarney, Pilot Mound and Manitou.

Meanwhile, Churchill and York in Manitoba’s northern reaches are under a blizzard warning.

Blizzard conditions are expected to develop early Thursday afternoon and continue into Friday morning. Northwest winds of 50 kilometres per hour with gusts to 70 km/h are expected to develop early this afternoon.

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“Travel is expected to be hazardous to due to reduced visibility,” the blizzard warning said. “If you must travel, keep others informed of your schedule and destination and carry an emergency kit and mobile phone.”

MORE: Local weather forecasts

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