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Trans-Canada Highway shut due to Manitoba snowstorm

HEADINGLEY, Man. — Snowblowers roared in driveways and across southern Manitoba Sunday after a storm dumped more than 20 centimetres in some areas and closed the Trans-Canada Highway for close to 12 hours.

RCMP closed the highway late Saturday evening between Headingley, just west of Winnipeg, to Brandon, about 150 kilometres away.

It didn’t reopen again until late Sunday morning.

RCMP in Headingley say that conditions were extremely slippery, but that no vehicles had to be abandoned overnight on the highway and there were no serious accidents to report.

Police in Winnipeg also sent out an advisory Saturday night that people shouldn’t drive, warning that visibility at times was down to zero.

Environment Canada says the storm system, which has also delivered heavy snowfalls in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, developed over the American Rockies.

“It blew all yesterday. By six, it got bad. By seven, you could hardly see across the street,” said Earl Porter, the mayor of Portage la Prairie, on Sunday.

The community is halfway between Headingley and Brandon along the section of the Trans-Canada that was closed, which meant nobody was going anywhere, east or west, on Saturday night.

Porter estimates at least 30 centimetres fell. He said it took three hours to clear his driveway on Sunday, and he said his driveway isn’t really that big.

“All the neighbours are out with snowblowers,” Porter said. “It was deep.”

Some hotels on either end of the closed highway were busy Saturday night with last-minute guests.

Cori Prosser, a desk clerk at the Motel 6 in Headingley, said the hotel put up a lot of guests who needed accommodations.

She also said there were a lot of cancellations on Sunday from people who were delayed elsewhere because of the weather.

Prosser, who lives in Winnipeg, said she ventured out on the roads during the height of the storm on Saturday night despite the difficult driving conditions.

“I’m 21 and wanted to hang out with my friends,” Prosser explained.

“I’m from Winnipeg and we can go through anything.”

In Winnipeg, city crews worked to clear “Military Fields of Honour” sites at cemeteries for Remembrance Day. The city said in a news release that its crews would be sanding and salting streets around the clock to improve traction.

The weekend snowfall in Manitoba followed days of wintry blasts which began on Wednesday in Edmonton.

 
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