According to Environment Canada, a winter storm is headed to Manitoba in the coming days and it could be the worst blizzard in decades.
The city of Winnipeg is currently under a storm watch as the blizzard approaches.
The major spring storm is set to wallop southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan in the coming days.
A Colorado low will move toward Minnesota on Tuesday night bringing a heavy swath of snow from southeastern Saskatchewan through most of southern Manitoba.
The blizzard is projected to bring around 30 to 50 centimetres of snow with bitter northern winds gusting from 70 to 90 km/h.
The snow will start early Tuesday evening near the international border then push northward throughout the night.
Come Wednesday morning, heavy snow will be falling in much of the area as the storm continues to push northward and it’s expected to continue through to early Friday morning.
By Friday morning widespread snowfall accumulations of 30 to 50 cm are expected, possibly approaching 80 cm in the higher terrain of western Manitoba and the western Red River Valley.
Former Environment Canada meteorologist Rob Paola told 680 CJOB’s The Start that the system is going to hang around for almost three full days.
“This is a long duration storm — it’s not going to be a quick thing,” Paola said.
“That’s why we’re looking at such high snowfall over two or three days. Winds will be picking up as well on Wednesday, especially over the western Red River Valley.”
Paola said although the quantity of snow in the forecast is out of the ordinary, an April storm itself isn’t all that uncommon
“Exactly a year ago today, we had a two-day snowfall that gave Winnipeg 23 centimetres of snow on April 12-13. It’s not unusual, and in fact it’s more unusual not to have snow at some time during April than it is to have snow.”
The snow and heavy wind may cause zero visibility which will make travelling risky — widespread highway closures are a near certainty.
By Wednesday evening, travel within communities might even be impossible as the heavy snow and strong winds continue. More of the same is expected on Thursday.
“Stock up on needed supplies and medications now. Power outages are likely; rural areas, in particular, should be prepared for extended outages,” Environment Canada said in a press release Monday.
Conditions should improve by Friday as the storm moves its way to northern Ontario but the post-storm clean-up is likely to last into next week.
Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.