WINNIPEG -- An early blast of winter weather continues to pummel much of southern Manitoba with more than 27,000 hydro customers starting Friday without power.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the city of Winnipeg with Environment and Climate Change Canada warning the "extreme winter storm" will hammer "parts of southern Manitoba over the next couple of days."

According to the national weather agency, a Colorado low is intensifying as it draws closer to the Red River Valley where winter storm conditions are expected for much of Friday and into the evening.

"The western half of the Red River Valley may be hit with an extraordinary amount of snow," the weather agency warned in a statement. "Snowfall amounts for today and Friday night could exceed 50 cm particularly towards the Manitoba escarpment. Areas closer to the Red River, including the City of Winnipeg, could get between 10 and 25 cm of wet snow."

Manitoba Hydro said more than 27,000 customers are without power as Friday morning, with no estimated time of restoration. The storm has also forced a number of school closures and bus cancellations across Manitoba. The full list can be found here.

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Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport said the weather has forced some flight delays and cancellations while asking travellers to check with their airline for the latest flight information.

Wind gusts of 70 to 80 km/h are expected for much of the southern portion of the province, Environment and Climate Change Canada said Friday, with gusts of more than 100 km/h possible off the Manitoba Lakes.

"Travelling will become difficult if not impossible as the day wears on, with heavy, accumulating snow, strong winds and temperatures near zero resulting in treacherous conditions," the weather agency warned. "The combination of heavy, wet snow and strong winds will likely result in downed trees and power lines."

The storm forced the closure of Hwy. 1 from Brandon to Portage La Prairie due to poor winter driving conditions. Winnipeg Transit customers should "anticipate delays this morning as a result of the current weather conditions."

Photos on social media showed Winnipeggers waking up to heavy, wet snow resulting in downed trees on city streets.