McPhillips Street underpass closed as rain, wind and snow warnings cover parts of Manitoba

The extreme spring weather Manitoba has experienced in recent weeks continues on Tuesday with rainfall, wind and snowfall warnings across parts of southern and northern regions.

A powerful Colorado low is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to southern Manitoba.

Rainfall warnings have been issued for a wide swath of southern Manitoba, starting around Brandon and moving east across the Interlake and to the Ontario border, including Winnipeg.

The areas covered by the warnings are already struggling with flooding caused by the massive amount of rain that has fallen this spring, including the Interlake and the Red River Valley.

In Winnipeg, cars got stuck in water up to their windows in the McPhillips Street underpass, which had to be closed during the morning rush hour.

Many areas have already experienced 30 to 50 millimetres of rainfall this week, but an additional 20-30 millimetres of rain is still expected.

Flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

A vehicle is stuck in water in the McPhillips Street underpass on Tuesday. Parts of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, are expected to get between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

These areas will also experience extreme winds expected to reach between 80 and 90 kilometres per hour.

An emergency meeting was scheduled for Tuesday morning in the rural municipality of St. Clements over the rain and wind hammering the area.

The community north of Winnipeg has barely dried out from high water on the Red River, Mayor Debbie Fiebelkorn said.

Officials have moved an excavator to the northern part of the municipality, along the southeast shore of Lake Winnipeg, and also spoke to a local quarry about hauling materials such as sand and gravel to help reinforce dikes, if needed.

Conditions are similar to 2010, when a record-breaking low-pressure system known as a “weather bomb” hit the area, bringing strong winds, Fiebelkorn said.

“If anything happens, and with this wind and rain, I’m just not sure where it’s going to go,” she said.

“The water hasn’t even receded from the spring runoff in here.”

Tyler Freeman, the municipality’s emergency measures co-ordinator, said they’ve moved heavy equipment to the Grand Marais area as they keep an eye on dikes.

Notices to be prepared to get out if the lake goes up too much have gone out to as many as 40 properties.

Parts of southeastern Manitoba are expected to receive a smaller amount of rainfall, between five and 10 millimetres.

Wind warnings have been issued for parts of southwestern Manitoba, particularly along the Saskatchewan border. Areas around Minnedosa reported winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour, Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Luzny said.

In other areas, northerly winds could reach 60 kilometres per hour, gusting to 90 kilometres per hour. The warnings extend to areas along the southern shore of Lake Winnipegosis.

Wind can cause damage to buildings, including to shingles or windows, and may result in power outages. 

Drivers should watch for objects blowing across roads. 

The wind and rain are expected to diminish later in the day on Tuesday as the weather system moves east. 

Up north, a rainfall warning has been issued for Churchill, on the shores of Hudson Bay. Multiple waves of precipitation are expected over much of this week, with the heaviest rain on Tuesday into Wednesday.

Environment Canada forecasts 30 to 40 millimetres.

A snowfall warning has been issued for Tadoule Lake, almost 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Between 20 and 40 centimetres is expected, starting Tuesday evening to Friday. Winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour are also expected Tuesday evening.

McPhillips Street underpass flooded

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In Winnipeg, cars got stuck in water up to their windows in the McPhillips Street underpass, which had to be closed during the morning rush hour.

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