A historic Colorado low seems to still have Manitoba in its crosshairs and many areas could find half a metre of snow by the time the storm is over late this week. 

Environment Canada has now issued a winter storm watch for all of southern Manitoba. That comes a day after a special weather statement was issued, and winter storm warnings or blizzard warnings seem to be likely in our future.

"We're looking at snow beginning on Tuesday evening, through the day Wednesday, and even though Thursday, with pretty widespread accumulations," says Dan Fulton, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. Right now he says "accumulation totals will be around 30-50 cm for Winnipeg and the Red River Valley, and pretty much all of southern Manitoba."

"If I had to draw comparisons I'd go back to '97. This is starting to get '97 vibes to me, so this is a big one."

Meteorologists have been watching the potential storm since last week. At that time there was still a strong potential that the storm might not develop or that it would change course. However, it seems more and more likely now that it will indeed impact most of southern Manitoba.

"We're also looking at very strong northerly winds with this system, gusting anywhere from 70 to 90 km/h, so pretty much flat-out blizzard conditions," Fulton says. "Do not plan any travel on Wednesday, Thursday, or probably even Friday - even though the storm will be over by then, I expect it will take a while to clean up."

The storm will impact Canada from southeastern Saskatchewan to northwestern Ontario. South of the border, North Dakota "is looking like they will have tremendous amounts of snow," Fulton says. "They actually look like they'll have the worst of it in terms of amounts, but we're not much better." Some areas of the state could see 60-80 cm of snow right now.

"If I had to draw comparisons I'd go back to '97. This is starting to get '97 vibes to me, so this is a big one."

This could very well be the worst storm in decades, and Environment Canada is recommending that people make plans not to travel, and to stock up on groceries and medication. They are also warning that power outages should be expected and possibly for extended periods of time.

We will continue to monitor the storm and keep you updated with the latest weather and travel conditions.