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Blizzard Warnings, Snowfall Warnings and Blowing Snow Advisories are now in effect for most of Southern Manitoba ahead of a strong Colorado Low that will move through the U.S. Plains Wednesday and Thursday.

5 to 15cms of snow is expected by Thursday night in the Killarney, Pilot Mound, Manitou, Morden, Winkler, Carman, Altona and Morris regions, but that could increase significantly if the storm’s track moves even slightly northwestward. Areas east of the Red River are expecting 10 to 20cms of snow, with Blizzard and Snowfall Warnings issued for those regions.

CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner stressed, there is an asterisk with those amounts, especially for the Western Red River Valley which is under a Blizzard Warning, and parts of Western Manitoba which are under a Blowing Snow Advisory.

“The snowfall amounts for the those areas are still uncertain, because the line between the heavy snow, and the not so heavy snow is expected to be very well defined... as in it will taper off from heavy snow to nearly no snowfall over a very short distance,” explained Sumner Wednesday morning. “The big question still, even at this stage of being less than 24 hours out from the arrival of the storm, is just how far northwest the heavy snow will push. A shift northwestward of only a small amount, according to Environment Canada we’re talking just kilometers, will mean the difference between an area receiving just a couple centimeters versus 10+.”

Sumner added strong northerly winds will develop overnight into Thursday, strengthening to 50 gusting to 70 kilometers per hour, with possibly stronger gusts up to 80 during the day tomorrow. Blowing snow and reduced visibility will be a factor Thursday in the Western Red River Valley, but will depend heavily on the actual snowfall amount received.

As for travel plans over the next couple days, Sumner noted things will be fine for Wednesday, but Thursday will be a different story.

“It’s likely we will see some school cancellations Thursday due to road conditions. For anyone living in the regions currently covered by the Blizzard and Snowfall Warnings, I would encourage you to start thinking about alternate travel plans for Thursday, even possibly putting them off entirely, to avoid the stress of last minute changes.”

South of the border, the National Weather Service's latest update says the winter storm forecast to hit the Red River Valley in the U.S. remains potentially historic in nature.

The storm's impacts will begin to be felt Wednesday afternoon, and last into Thursday night, bringing a wintry mix of rain and heavy snow across much of the state. 

The Red River Valley from north of Grand Forks to Fargo is expected to receive 6 to 12+ inches (12.5 to 30cms) of snow. There is the potential for higher amounts, possibly even as much as 18 inches (45cms), in other parts of North Dakota.

Blizzard conditions will develop across eastern North Dakota later today, and continue through Thursday night.

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