Southeastern Saskatchewan and Southern Manitoba Brace for Major Spring Blizzard

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Weather

WINNIPEG – WEATHER – A major spring blizzard is poised to wallop southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan by mid-week, with widespread snowfall accumulations of 30-50 centimetres accompanied by northerly winds gusting from 70-90 km/h giving zero visibility at times in snow and blowing snow.

The cause is a Colorado low that is tracking towards Minnesota. By Tuesday night it will bring a heavy swath of snow from southeastern Saskatchewan through most of southern Manitoba.

The snow will start early Tuesday evening near the Canada / United States border then push northward throughout the night.

By Wednesday morning heavy snow will be falling in much of the area as the storm continues to push northward. Strong northerly winds will develop with this system and persist into Friday morning as the low slowly pivots through Minnesota on it’s way into northwestern Ontario.

Winter storm watch in effect for:

  • City of Winnipeg

By Friday morning widespread snowfall accumulations of 30 to 50 centimetres are expected…with possible accumulations as high as 80 centimetres possible along terrain features such as the western escarpment of the Red River Valley, the Riding Mountains, and the Turtle Mountains.

Travel will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses Wednesday, with widespread highway closures a near-certainty.

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.

Do not plan to travel – this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades.

It is suggested that people stock up on needed supplies before the storm hits.

Having extra batteries, flashlights, water and extra food likely will help ride out the storm.

Storm Checklist

Here is a suggested list:

This 18 volt Ryobi Inverter can keep your smartphones, and even power your laptop. Plus it has a built in LED light
This 18 volt Ryobi Inverter can keep your smartphones, and even power your laptop. Plus it has a built in LED light

Ryobi for example has a power inverter that works with the same Ryobi batteries that their line of 18+ tools use. This lets you keep your phone charged, and can also run your laptop computer, although likely not for all that long depending on the use.

Those same Ryobi batteries that power your tools can also keep their LED lights going.

The company also makes a 18V ONE+ Portable Power Source that allows you to plug in two USB devices and keep them charged.

While many people have stepped away from having a portable radio, shifting over to their smartphone, having a weather radio or an AM / FM radio powered either by a hand crank or with a good supply of batteries is a good way to keep up on the latest information you need to know.

With younger children, having no television or access to the Internet could also create issues. Planning for an emergency could be as simple as playing ‘old-fashioned’ board games once a week. Keeping a routine, so if the power is off you can keep the kids busy is always a positive step.

If you have a propane or charcoal fired barbecue, you have a means to cook hot meals. Make sure YOU do not bring those flame fired items into the home, carbon monoxide can be a deadly issue.

Home Emergency Kit
Having a home emergency kit is a great idea.

Basic emergency kit

Start thinking about what YOU would need for a 72-hour weather emergency. Planning an emergency kit for your home will ensure YOU have the basics.

  • Water – at least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
  • Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
  • Manual can-opener
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries). Replace batteries once a year.
  • Crank, battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) or Weatheradio
  • First aid kit
  • Extra keys to your car and house
  • Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones
  • A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
  • If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize your emergency kit according to your needs)

Recommended additional items

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or lighter (place candles in deep, sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
  • Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  •  Water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife)
  • A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Duct tape (to tape up windows, doors, air vents, etc.)

If you think your water is contaminated, check with your municipality or local authorities for details. When in doubt, do not drink water you suspect may be contaminated.

Keep some cash on hand, as automated bank machines and their networks may not work during an emergency. You may have difficulty using debit or credit cards.

During this week’s storm, Kakabeka Falls saw both power and telephone lines down. For many people that meant if they didn’t have a working smart phone they also lost communications.

While there isn’t much you can do about that, having a working plan, the needed supplies and the awareness to have your family aware of that plan can be a really great way of having peace of mind.