Wild weather to start month

The first day of February will include plenty of snow, winds gusting to the equivalent of 80 km/h and many highway closures.

The highway closures, as of about 9 a.m., including the Trans-Canada Highway from Headingley to the Saskatchewan border and from the eastern city limits to Highway 11. Highway 75 is also closed from Winnipeg to Morris. You can see the latest highway information from the province here.

A strong Alberta clipper is bringing snow and strong northwest winds, Environment Canada said. A blizzard warning is in effect for most of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg.

“Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow,” the weather service said on its website.

Environment Canada offered tips to motorists who become stranded because of poor visibility.

“Protect yourself from wind, cold and disorientation by staying sheltered, indoors or with your vehicle,” its website states. “If you become stranded in a vehicle, do not leave. The vehicle offers a form of protection from the cold. A single person walking through the snow is harder to find than a stranded car or truck.”

Environment Canada issues blizzard warnings when widespread reduced visibility of 400 metres or less are expected for at least four hours.

Multiple rural school divisions have announced all their schools are closed today.

Many incoming and outgoing flights at Winnipeg’s airport have been delayed or cancelled.

Home-care services could be delayed or cancelled because of the weather, officials with the Winnipeg and Southern regional health authorities said Monday. Southern Health said power outages could also prevent them from letting clients know an appointment has been cancelled. Affected clients in Winnipeg will be contacted by phone. Clients who want to pre-emptively cancel can call their case co-ordinator or nurse, or the after-hours phone line at 204-788-8331.

The blizzard is expected to end early this afternoon. Light snow is forecast after that, with a low of -21 C tonight, wind chill as low as -32 and wind from the northwest at 50 km/h gusting to 80 until the afternoon.

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