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Winnipeg blanketed in first snowfall, construction delays add to winter preparations – Winnipeg

Manitoba has seen its first snowfall of the season with about five centimetres of snow falling on Winnipeg on Wednesday night.

Southern Manitoba communities like Winkler were treated to up to three times that amount — and Westman saw even more.

Scott Kehler, president of Weatherlogics, says Winnipeg will also be on the northern edge of a second system heading to Manitoba on Thursday night.

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“I would expect roughly another five centimetres tonight, worst case scenario would be closer to 10,” he said Thursday.

Kehler also mentioned that as the province is dealing with a lot of potential belting of the snowfalls, it does cut into the potential totals and an upcoming storm Thursday could potentially be Winnipeg’s last bout of the white stuff for a while.

“Next little while is looking drier with those cooler temperatures and once we get past Halloween, we don’t expect a big change in the weather, so continuing to see temperatures around or just below freezing.”

Environment Canada says it expects a bout of flurries to hit Winnipeg around 3 p.m. Thursday as well as more consistent snowfall starting around 7 p.m.

Kehler says 10 cm of snow could fall on the city but just half of that might accumulate because of the warm ground, also adding that the farther south people are, the more snow they are likely to see with these storms.

However, the first snowfall of the season already has road clearing on the mind for the city and Lisa Naylor, Minister of Transportation says the province is taking steps to ensure they have enough staff for the job.

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“This department has had high vacancy rates for a number of years — you know, frozen wages. It’s hard to attract workers to the role but we’ve already hired a number of new workers,” she says.

“Plowing does happen 24 hours a day in this province in a number of different areas, but our goal as a government is that people will be safe, that Manitobans can commute to work and school safely and travel through the holidays and see their families.”

Naylor says highway crews work through the night in challenging conditions and says drivers need to give workers space.

Meanwhile, people are expressing frustration regarding construction delays in Winnipeg.

“We can see asphalt placement into mid-November in a typical year and we’ve still got some wrap-up to do next week that involves some other major paving operations,” says Michelle Stainton, project management engineer at the City of Winnipeg.

Stainton says the work will still get done despite the conditions, and 70 per cent of the projects are done, with the city aiming to do 20 per cent more by the deadline while 10 per cent will carry over into next year.

But Russ Wyatt, city councillor for Transcona, says he is frustrated to see how many projects are still on the go this late into the year.

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He says he’s introducing a motion at city hall to audit the procurement process at the Public Works department.

He says the city is sending out tenders to contractors too late in the year and if they speed that up the city may not be dealing with as much work going on this time of year.

Click to play video: 'Councillor slams road construction progress one year after civic election'

Councillor slams road construction progress one year after civic election

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