Don't put away the shovel just yet.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/11/2021 (194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Don't put away the shovel just yet.

After a balmy fall, wet, heavy snow walloped Winnipeg and southern Manitoba parts of Wednesday into Friday morning during the first winter storm of the season. More snow is expected Saturday and Monday into Tuesday, likely bringing a couple centimetres each time.

"We’ve got quite an active pattern over the next couple days," said Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

"It’s been above normal for basically all of fall so far in the Winnipeg area — we’re seeing a substantial change that started with this system and now we’re having another low-pressure system that’s going to move through."

Winnipeg took on as much as 20 cm of snow, while areas to the north and east of the city, including near Pinawa, logged up to 35 cm. Hardest hit was the area between Riding Mountain National Park and Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

"We received two reports in the Grandview area of between 50 and 60 cm of snow with this system," Fougere said Friday. "Pretty significant."

The slow-moving storm and high winds caused delays, closures and treacherous road conditions across the province. Highway 1 was closed Thursday from Falcon Lake to the Ontario border, while the highway's westbound lanes between Hwy. 101 and Hwy. 59 were closed Friday afternoon due to a collision.

Winnipeg snow-clearing crews began work on major routes, priority sidewalks and bike lanes Thursday at 7 p.m. with city-wide trouble spots tackled Friday; the province sent plows to major highway routes four hours after the snowstorm ended.

The public works department won't know the full cost of the clearing operation until likely mid-next week, Winnipeg streets maintenance manager Michael Cantor said at a Friday afternoon news conference.

"I can assure you that our finance chair, when the snow starts, his lip starts to quiver, because snow is costly — weather is federal jurisdiction but the City of Winnipeg cleans up the mess," Mayor Brian Bowman added.

Cantor said the goal is to have priority and regional roads cleared 36 hours after the last snowflake fell, but the department is still evaluating when residential streets will be finished.

Overnight, the city had more than 200 pieces of snow-clearing equipment on the roads, with about 300 deployed during the day Friday.

The city will put an extended snow route parking ban into effect at midnight Friday. It prohibits parking on snow routes between midnight and 7 a.m., and will stay in place until crews finish this round of snow clearing.

Winnipeg Transit experienced significant delays amid the storm.

Garbage, recycling and yard waste collection may also be delayed. Winnipeg solid waste manager Michael Gordichuk said the department has increased hours at landfill and recycling facilities to catch up on service already hampered by the Remembrance Day holiday.

Gordichuk said the goal is to have all of the Thursday routes collected by Saturday morning; with Friday routes finished by Sunday morning at the latest.

He asked residents to put their bins away by 10 p.m., if refuse has yet to be picked up, and put them back out by 7 a.m. the next day.

Meantime, the storm system had knocked out power Thursday for more than 10,000 people in the Interlake region to the northeast of Winnipeg. As of late afternoon Friday, Manitoba Hydro's outage map showed 928 homes still without electricity.

Three Manitoba school divisions were closed Friday due to weather and road conditions: Lord Selkirk, Red River Valley and Prairie Rose.

Canada Post halted mail delivery Friday due to the significant snowfall. It said delivery will resume once conditions improve.

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.