Le Pays De France - 'Rare' springtime blizzard wallops parts of Canada

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'Rare' springtime blizzard wallops parts of Canada
'Rare' springtime blizzard wallops parts of Canada / Photo: © AFP

'Rare' springtime blizzard wallops parts of Canada

A springtime blizzard walloped Canada's western Prairies region and parts of Ontario province this week, closing roads, airports and schools, and leaving a dump of snow to shovel.

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Whiteouts were also reported in the US states of North Dakota and Montana.

Natalie Hasell, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, told AFP it was "rare" to see a major weather event dropping 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow in April, when most Canadians are gearing up for spring.

Only two winter storms of this intensity have ever been recorded around this time of year in the region since 1902. The last one of this magnitude, in 1997, pummeled Manitoba province for three days and went into history books as "the storm of the century."

Just weeks after the last of the 2021-2022 winter snowfall had melted away, forecasts warned of a "historic" winter storm, with an average of 30 to 50 centimeters of fresh snow expected to accumulate in Manitoba and Saskatchewan by the time it ends on Friday, with some parts seeing as much as 80 centimeters of snow coupled with strong winds.

Hasell said the worst-case scenario hadn't materialized so far, but the snow was continuing to fall, with an additional five to 10 centimeters expected on Thursday in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba.

Few power outages were reported, but many schools and roads were closed in and around the city.

Air Canada told AFP it planned to resume flights Thursday after canceling 21 flights to and from Winnipeg the day before.

A weather alert for Saskatchewan has been lifted, but another was issued for Ontario as the storm tracked eastward.

It is expected to peter out by Friday evening.