April 16, 2013 5:00 am
Updated: April 16, 2013 9:25 am

Spring snowstorm tests patience, worsens flood outlook

Delivery truck in ditch on Fermor Ave in Winnipeg Apr 15, 2013

Jeremy Desrochers

WINNIPEG – Another blast of winter covered highways with snow, closed schools and worsened the flood outlook in Manitoba on Monday.

Environment Canada predicted five to 10 centimetres of snow from the weather system, with winds at 40 kilometres per hour gusting to 60 km/h. By late Monday about eight centimetres had fallen on Winnipeg.

A record-setting 24 centimetres of snow has fallen in Fargo over the past two days – snow that will eventually turn into flood water that will flow north.

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Tricia Stadnyk, a flood expert at the University of Manitoba, said snow won’t help the flood risk.

“It could be worse though – it could be rain,” she said.

With heavy snow south of the border, Stadnyk said the main concern now is if the warmup and snow melt happen sooner in North Dakota.

Provincial flood forecasters have said there is a moderate to major risk of severe flooding along many rivers in Manitoba.

In a statement to Global News, the province said it is monitoring the storm development closely.

Regional flood response teams are working with municipal officials on the ground in Morris, Emerson and other Red River Valley communities.

“We are very well-protected, but the overall economic impact on the community and the inconvenience those are the main issues,” said Gavin van der Linde, the Morris mayor.

The province already warned Highway 75 through Morris will likely shut down.

Schools were closed in Border Land School Division southwest of Winnipeg on Monday.

Highways were snow-covered with poor visibility.

A four-vehicle crash closed Highway 15 between Dugald and Anola. There were no serious injuries, a firefighter said, but visibility in the area was poor due to the snow and wind.

Highways 75 and 59 south of Winnipeg were snow-covered, as were most highways in southeastern Manitoba and northeast of the city around Birds Hill.

Many highways, including 75 south of Winnipeg and the Trans-Canada east of the city, had reduced visibility.

Some southern North Dakota highways were also closed Monday morning. The I-29 between Fargo and Grand Forks was closed overnight but reopened with a no-travel advisory early Monday.

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