Snowstorm: state of emergency declared in Manitoba

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 A state of emergency has been declared in Manitoba to allow Manitoba Hydro electricity supplier to quickly restore power to tens of thousands of customers affected by the damage caused by a major early snowstorm.

Since Friday, up to 70 cm of snow has fallen in some areas of the province, not counting the freezing rain observed in some areas. The depression from Colorado caused a lot of damage, including power lines, forcing several school closures Friday and causing several accidents on the roads. 

Sunday, mid-afternoon, more than 31,000 subscribers across the province were still without electricity. On Saturday morning, breakdowns affected more than 50,000 households. Friday afternoon, they were about 100,000 without electricity.

“It’s clear that the tremendous effort to restore power and other activities will continue for some time,” said Premier Brian Pallister on Sunday. The state of emergency will contribute to this effort. ” 

This initiative by the government will allow Manitoba Hydro to “invoke mutual aid clauses with neighboring utilities to obtain the necessary assistance for the restoration of services,” the statement said. On Sunday, Manitoba Hydro had already sought the help of Ontario-based Hydro One, Minnesota Power and Sask Power to acquire, among other things, transmission towers, distribution poles and specialized electrical equipment, as well as crews. for the works. 

Powerless for several hours, indigenous communities in the Interlake region were preparing to evacuate residents Sunday, local media reported. 

In addition to power outages, several roads were affected by the storm. 

“At the height of the storm, just over 2700 kilometers of provincial highways were closed,” the government said Sunday. Most are reopened, but motorists are encouraged to limit non-essential travel to areas not yet cleared to help clear snow during emergency response. ” 

In addition, with expected temperatures that will oscillate between 0 and 4 degrees over the next few days and the melting that will take place in regions where precipitation is in the form of snow, authorities are closely monitoring the level of water bodies. In particular, the Red River Floodway was activated last week in anticipation of the storm and will continue until the end of October. 

Levels of several rivers, lakes and streams were rising on Sunday, and localized flooding was expected, particularly in the lowlands.

The gradual melting due to temperatures just above zero and the absence of expected rain over the next few days could however reduce the risk of flooding, authorities said in the afternoon on Sunday.

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