Winter storm causes car crashes, flight delays; worst yet to come say forecasters
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 11:25AM CST
Last Updated Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:24PM CST
A blanket of snow fell on southern Manitoba this weekend, causing crashes and cancelling a number of flights out of Winnipeg’s airport.
Environment Canada issued a winter storm warning Friday. That warning remained in effect Saturday, and forecasters predicted Winnipeg would be hit hardest by the storm Saturday evening.
Winnipeg woke to about four centimetres of snow Saturday morning, much less than originally anticipated.
In other areas, there was also much less snow than forecast.
Elie saw just a few centimetres.
Elie resident Brendon Puddifant said he was preparing for something a lot bigger.
“There’s been a little (snow) this morning, but we’re expecting a lot more,” said Puddifant. “I’m just trying to clear it before our big snowfall.”
That snowfall is expected to hit the province Saturday night. Another 10 to 20 cm are forecast to fall overnight, with flurries expected to continue into Sunday and even Monday.
The storm, according to Environment Canada officials, is the result of a Colorado Low that materialized in Montana and moved east.
The weather system also affected Alberta and Saskatchewan. Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport issued a travel advisory for anyone flying out of the province over the weekend.
Some flights coming in from Calgary and Alberta were delayed or cancelled altogether Saturday.
Airport officials advised people to check on their flight times before leaving for the airport, as delays were expected.
Those traveling locally were also advised to use caution. Roads were icy, snow-packed and treacherous.
A crash on Ness Avenue and Kensington Street around noon Saturday flipped a truck on its side.
An SUV and truck collided at the intersection, coming to a stop inches from a hydro pole. Emergency crews were on scene almost immediately, but there was no word about any possible injuries in the crash.
A couple hours earlier, a semi-trailer could be seen overturned and partially in a ditch on the Trans-Canada Highway, about seven kilometers east of Deacon’s Corner.
The highway was covered in a thick blanket of black ice, making conditions treacherous for drivers in the area.
Police were on scene and a large tow-truck was used to pull the semi from the ditch. No one was seriously injured in the crash.
But overall, RCMP said there had only been a few accidents on Manitoba highways with no serious injuries as of Saturday afternoon. RCMP advised people to continue to drive carefully and adjust speeds in dangerous driving conditions.
Environment Canada also advised drivers to take precautions due to dangerous driving conditions throughout southern Manitoba.
CAA Manitoba said it’s already preparing to take more emergency calls Saturday night.
“We’re continuing on to make sure we have enough staff on hand because it can be a really unsafe situation if there’s lots of cars that are needing help,” said Liz Peters of CAA Manitoba.
The city is also doing its part to make streets safer. It deployed about 130 pieces of snow-removal and salting/sanding equipment to the city’s main thoroughfares Saturday.
Winnipegger Asleigh Penner said she’s prepared for whatever might hit late Saturday night.
“We got the groceries out of the way today and every errand, and we’re ready to keep warm inside,” said Penner.
Those hoping to brave the weather and attend Remembrance Day ceremonies should find at least three city cemeteries cleared of snow.
City officials announced Saturday they would be plowing Brookside, Transcona and St. Vital cemeteries Sunday morning, pending wind and weather conditions. The city advised not all areas of the cemeteries would be fully accessible before Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The city reminded drivers to use extreme caution when driving near snow plows or salting/sanding equipment.
As of noon Saturday, no winter parking bans were instituted in Winnipeg. Officials said that could change depending on the amount of snow that accumulated.