Blizzard conditions, dangerous travel ahead of Thanksgiving long weekend

The end of the work week and kickoff to the Thanksgiving weekend won't be pleasant for those in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, as a significant storm takes aim at the provinces beginning Thursday. Special weather statements are already in place, prior to the potent stateside system that could drop more than 50 cm of snow in parts of Manitoba and upwards of 75 mm of rain in northwestern Ontario. We have the timing of this storm, and when and where to expect the worst travel conditions, below.

After Alberta received a shot of heavy snow earlier this week, Manitoba is next in line for a significant dumping of the white stuff. A potent system will move in beginning Thursday, threatening heavy snow and treacherous travel. It is expected to continue through the early part of the Thanksgiving long weekend.

The Weather Network

"High impact snowstorm/blizzard begins Thursday and peaks Friday and Friday night (ending Saturday) for a large part of southern Manitoba (especially between Winnipeg and Brandon) and the U.S. Upper Midwest," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.

"Widespread blizzard conditions with severe impacts to transportation and agriculture. Concerned about tree damage and power outages as the foliage is still on the trees and heavy, wind-driven wet snow is expected."

The Weather Network

Because temperatures will be very marginal –- near or just above freezing --a wide range in accumulations are likely with elevation having a significant impact. Snowfall totals of 20 to 40 cm are expected for much of the region, while some southwestern areas near the internation border could see 50 cm or more.

"This storm will bring blizzard conditions with sustained winds reaching 50 km/h, with gusts of 80+ km/h. Travel will be extremely dangerous to impossible during the height of the storm," said Gillham.

Totals for Winnipeg will be "extremely difficult" to forecast, as there is a significant bust potential since the city is right on the sharp edge of where the heaviest snow will fall, Gillham added. There is higher confidence in snowfall totals in communities west of Winnipeg.

The Weather Network

Conditions will improve in Manitoba Saturday, but winds will remain gusty at times. At this point, Sunday will be the most ideal day to travel as quieter weather moves in.


If the snow wasn't enough, southeastern Manitoba could receive more than 50 mm of rain with the same system, based on the current weather forecast. More rain would only add to the flooding concerns, which prompted local states of emergency for some communities in the last few months.

Areas in northwestern Ontario will get strictly rain -- and heavy amounts, too, -- because of the temperature contrast between the two provinces. Through Saturday, strong winds and between 50 to 75 mm of rain is forecasted for areas around Lake of the Woods.

The Weather Network

While the weather will remain unsettled in northwestern Ontario until after the Thanksgiving long weekend, Sunday will be the best day to travel.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates on the storm.