NEWS

Manitoba snowstorm shuts highways, closes schools, snaps trees | - News

Manitoba snowstorm shuts highways, closes schools, snaps trees | - News

A storm that has draped southern Manitoba in heavy, sticky snow is causing havoc on highways and knocking down trees and power lines across the region.Heavy wet snow is weighing down trees and causing branches to break all around Winnipeg. (Terry Stapleton/CBC)A storm that has draped southern Manitoba in heavy, sticky snow is causing havoc on highways and knocking down trees and power lines across the region. The Trans-Canada Highway is closed between Brandon and Portage la Prairie — one of many road closures — while 31,000 hydro customers are in the dark, including more than 20,000 in Winnipeg.Repairs will be delayed because of the treacherous conditions and all the downed trees and branches, Manitoba Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen said.  A downed tree leans on a house on North Drive in Winnipeg. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) The storm arrived so early this fall that most trees are still loaded with leaves, which are now supporting the snow and causing the branches to bear more weight than normal. “And they are coming down on our [power] lines,” said Owen, urging the public to be careful. “What we’re seeing right now is that a lot of folks are taking pictures and video of downed lines, of sparking transformers, to post on social media and they’re getting too close. It’s just not worth it.” Anyone who comes across a downed line needs to call 911 because it’s a public safety matter, Owen said. “Emergency officials will get in contact with us and we will come and de-energize it as quickly as possible.” 👆We are currently on scene at several intersections for lights out however there are many more around the city. Reminder – watch for lights out, slow as you approach, come to a complete stop, and only enter the intersection when it is clear. #drivesafe #winnipegweather—@wpgpolice Owen also advises people to avoid the temptation to try knocking the snow and ice off of their trees, especially if they can’t see where the service line is going into a home. “The risk is you’re going to come into contact with the line or break a branch and bring down the line as you’re standing underneath it,” he said. In addition to trees toppling around Winnipeg, some traffic lights have come down, while others are not working. A Colorado low weather system moved into Manitoba from the United States on Wednesday. It has been cutting across the province from the southwest corner into the Red River Valley and northwest toward Berens River. Sticky, heavy snow has been falling in Winnipeg since Thursday morning. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC) CBC meteorologist John Sauder expects it to drop as much as 50 centimetres of snow to the west of Winnipeg before it shifts out of the province by Saturday. Winnipeg received about 20-25 cm Thursday and expects about the same on Friday. The storm has also brought strong northerly winds, which are expected to increased significantly on Friday. Gusts could reach 70-80 km/h, Sauder said. “Our issue right now is with the wind picking up and additional precipitation expected, and perhaps colder temperatures,” Owen said, asking people to be patient as crews try to get to everything. Hydro is also hiring private contractors to remove the downed branches and trees. PUBLIC SAFETY ADVISORY: if you see a damaged or fallen power line, stay away and call 911. Treat all lines as energized. Stay away from them or anything they touch. Never try to remove tree branches from lines. Read more here: https://t.co/3Avsvd3xWi #mbstorm #mboutage—@manitobahydro

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