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Flights, taxis grounded as winter storm wallops Westman

Kylie Black, 24, clears a path so her sister can get to work early Monday morning off of Lorne Avenue in Brandon. (Ian Froese/The Brandon Sun)

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Kylie Black, 24, clears a path so her sister can get to work early Monday morning off of Lorne Avenue in Brandon. (Ian Froese/The Brandon Sun)

Travellers have been left stranded in Westman Monday morning after a Christmas Day snowstorm left many roads with nearly a foot of snow overnight.

As of 8:30 a.m. today, the entirety of the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba was closed because of poor weather conditions, poor visibility and impassible roads. 

In Brandon, all taxi companies were forced to stay off the roads this morning. 

This afternoon's WestJet flights, one arriving in Brandon and one departing, have been cancelled. The flight arriving this evening remains on schedule.

A Brandon to Calgary flight tomorrow morning has been delayed until noon.

Melanie Sliziak, a dispatcher with 4-Way Taxi, said their taxi fleet has been grounded since 4 a.m. She estimates they have fielded more than 250 phone calls from Brandon travellers in the opening three hours.

"I have no day drivers on right now, I have drivers stuck in the office with me."

She added their taxis will be taking fares as soon as the roads clear. 

A blizzard warning has persisted since Sunday in Westman due to blowing snow and poor visibility. The affected areas are the City of Brandon and surrounding municipalities Glenboro-South Cypress, Norfolk Treherne, North Cypress-Langford, North Norfolk, Oakland-Wawanesa, Cornwallis, Elton and Victoria.

Slowly, both the poor visibility and high winds will dissipate as Boxing Day wears on.

The bulk of the 20-30 cm of snow forecasted has already fallen.

» ifroese@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ianfroese

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