A Blizzard Warning remains in effect for much of Southern Manitoba, while a Winter Storm Warning continues for regions east of the Red River.
"As you look outside your window this morning, some of you may be wondering where the big storm is we've been talking about for the past few days, and I completely understand that, but please don't be fooled into thinking this is a bust. Conditions will intensify throughout the morning, particularly west of the Red River toward the Manitoba escarpment and into southwestern Manitoba," said CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner Wednesday morning. "As is typical with Colorado lows, we can see these scenarios play out where slight changes in the storm's track can impact the overall snowfall totals, and move which regions may see the most significant impacts, but again, conditions will deteriorate throughout Wednesday morning, blizzard conditions will develop in many regions and travel will be extremely difficult once things ramp up."
According to Environment Canada, as the Spring storm intensifies this morning, blizzard conditions will develop and potentially last into the evening, with near-zero visibility in snow and blowing snow at times, meaning travel will become increasingly difficult as the morning progresses. For the Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba the majority of the snow expected will fall today, some drizzle or freezing drizzle is also possible as warmer air is pulled into the low. Some improvement, relatively speaking, should be seen on Thursday, but snow and blowing snow will still be an issue.
"Earlier in the week, we indicated there would be more fine tuning to the expected storm snowfall totals, and now that the system has arrived, those tweaks can be made as we get a much better idea of how this low pressures system will impact the province," added Sumner. "Based on the current forecast models, it appears the general expectation of 25 to 50cms of snow remains the range we'll see by the time Good Friday arrives."
Environment Canada is currently projecting 40 to 60cms for the western Red River Valley including Portage and Morden, 20-40 cm for the eastern Red River Valley and southeastern Manitoba and between 25 and 50cm for southwestern parts of the province. For the Red River Valley including Winnipeg and southeastern Manitoba the majority of the snow expected with this system will fall Wednesday.
"Once the snow restarts on Wednesday, it will last for a majority of the day, and those strong northerly winds will also kick in, too," he noted. "Peak wind gusts have also dropped a bit, so we're now looking at 70km/h or so as the top range, but combined with falling snow, that won't make much difference regarding the potential for significant blowing snow, that will still be an issue."
The windy conditions will last through Thursday night into Good Friday morning, with gusts between 50km/ and 60km/h expected, meaning blowing snow and reduced visibility will remain a concern well after the main area of snow has fallen Wednesday.
"I want to say it again, there may be some ebbs and flows at times, or waves of snow with this system, but during those lulls or times of reduced snowfall rates, again, please keep in mind the overall expectation with this system is still pretty close to what was initially forecast," noted Sumner. "I think, by Friday afternoon, we'll all be very happy we took the time to prepare Monday and Tuesday."
Temperatures over the next few days will be well below average for this time of year, but not bitterly cold. Highs around -2 to +1 for Wednesday, and then cooler for Thursday and Friday as those northerly winds pull in a cooler air mass, landing around -5 to -7. Averages for this time of year are 11 degrees daytime and -1 overnight.