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Parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba hit by blizzard: Environment Canada

High winds and falling snow made for low visibility in Regina and southern Saskatchewan on March 6, 2017.

Mark Taylor/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Much of Manitoba and a stretch of eastern Saskatchewan was hammered by horrible weather conditions on Monday that ranged from blizzards in some places to freezing rain and even a thunderstorm.

"It's probably a good idea to review all of those emergency plans and emergency kits and all of your supplies to make sure you can handle power outages, that you can handle being on your own for a couple of days," an Environment Canada spokeswoman told CTV News.

Manitoba Infrastructure said parts of the TransCanada and the Yellowhead highways, along with Highways 5, 10, 41, 45 and 83 were closed in the region due to poor driving conditions.

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CTV reported that five semi-trailers had been involved in a collision on the Trans-Canada between Brandon and Virden, Man.

The storm also knocked out power to thousands of customers in southwest Manitoba.

Scott Powell of Manitoba Hydro said 3,600 customers in western Manitoba lost power in places including Sifton, Souris, Glenwood, Neepawa, Grassland and Norfolk.

The utility sent out a tweet late Monday saying people in Dauphin and Swan River should also expect "extended outages" as crews were having trouble responding to calls partly because of the road closures.

Brandon University cancelled its evening classes and closed early, while some flights were delayed in both provinces.

Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning lasting into Tuesday for the entire west half of Manitoba and much of the province's north, along with a stretch of eastern Saskatchewan and the city of Regina. Saskatoon was under a blowing snow advisory. Winnipeg was not under a weather advisory but the forecast was calling for rain turning into about 10 cm of snow and strong winds.

In the northern part of the region, the forecast suggested the bad conditions could last until Thursday.

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"Heavy freezing rain showers or even thunderstorms occurred in southwestern Manitoba this afternoon, and this remains a possibility in some areas early this evening," said Environment Canada.

"The public is advised to postpone travel in western Manitoba, eastern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba until the storm passes."

Varying snowfall amounts were expected, ranging from around 10 cm near the Canada-U.S. border, to 30 cm in the Parklands area, to as much as 60 cm in the north.

The winds were forecast to pick up with gusts as high as 90 km/h expected in some places.

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