Weekend rain, snow bring power outages, highway closures to Manitoba

Thousands of people in Manitoba are without power and more than a dozen highway sections are closed early Sunday morning as a massive weekend downpour — and, in some areas, snowfall — continues in parts of the province.

As of shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, there were over 800 power outages that had been reported to Manitoba Hydro, the utility’s website says. Those outages are estimated to affect more than 15,000 people.

Most of the outages are in parts of southwestern Manitoba, from Winnipegosis down to the United States border. One outage in the northern area around South Indian Lake and Nelson House has left almost 900 people without power.

Other outages are scattered across the southern half of the province, including a handful reported in Winnipeg.

Expected restoration times vary, with some anticipated to be back on by late morning and others not until around 5 p.m., Hydro’s website says.

More than a dozen highway closures are in effect Sunday morning due to “poor winter driving conditions.” Full details can be found on the Manitoba 511 website.

In Winnipeg, the rain flooded several low points and underpasses, stranding some drivers, city police said.

Northbound Route 90 between Dublin and Notre Dame was closed overnight due to a collapsed roadway, the Winnipeg Police Service said on Twitter shortly after midnight.

But just after 3 a.m., police said the road was partially open, and that city crews were still working to open other flooded intersections.

Southwest of Winnipeg, some are already seeing major overland flooding. The rural municipality of Stanley said in an update that people who need sandbags can pick them up at the public works shop on Road 25W, which for now will be open 24 hours a day.

Wind, snow, rain warnings

More weather alerts are also now in effect, with wind, winter storm, snowfall and rainfall warnings declared across southern and central parts of the province. Full details are available on Environment Canada’s website.

As the Colorado low system that’s moved into Manitoba brings strengthening north winds on Sunday, the Portage la Prairie, Headingley, Brunkild and Carman areas are under wind warnings, Environment Canada said in an alert issued in the early morning.

Gusts of 90 km/h are expected, mainly north of the Trans-Canada Highway.

A winter storm warning is also in effect for parts of the province as heavy snow with some blowing snow continues in those regions. But the intensity of that snowfall is weakening and it’s expected to be mostly finished by midday or early afternoon, Environment Canada said.

The regions under the winter storm warning are:

  • Virden-Souris.
  • Dauphin-Russell-Roblin-Winnipegosis.
  • Minnedosa-Riding Mountain National Park.
  • Ste. Rose-McCreary-Alonsa-Gladstone.

A snowfall warning is in effect for other parts of Manitoba, with 10 to 20 centimetres expected to fall. That snowfall should also taper off in the Interlake regions Sunday morning and then in the afternoon in areas east of Lake Manitoba.

Northerly winds gusting to 70 or 80 km/h are expected with that snow, which may lead to reduced visibility with blowing snow in open areas in the Interlake region Sunday morning, Environment Canada said.

The areas under the snowfall warning are:

  • Arborg-Hecla-Fisher River-Gypsumville-Ashern.
  • Berens River-Little Grand Rapids-Bloodvein-Atikaki.
  • Poplar River.
  • Grand Rapids-Waterhen.

Finally, rainfall warnings are in place for several parts of the province, though the amount of rain expected varies by region.

In southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, a total of between 30 and 60 millimetres of rain is expected to fall this weekend.

Rain with isolated thunderstorms will continue Sunday morning, but a strengthening northerly wind will bring down temperatures and turn rain to snow this morning, Environment Canada said. That snow will then taper off this afternoon or evening, as the Colorado low leaves the area.

Wind gusts of 70 to 80 km/h will also weaken Sunday evening. And there’s only up to five centimetres of snow expected to accumulate, since much of it will melt when it hits the ground.

The areas under that rainfall warning are:

  • City of Winnipeg.
  • Selkirk-Gimli-Stonewall-Woodlands.
  • Dugald-Beausejour-Grand Beach.
  • Portage la Prairie-Headingley-Brunkild-Carman.
  • Morden-Winkler-Altona-Morris.
  • Bissett-Victoria Beach-Nopiming Provincial Park-Pine Falls. 

Another rainfall warning is also in place for the following regions:

  • Steinbach-St. Adolphe-Emerson-Vita-Richer.
  • Whiteshell-Lac du Bonnet-Pinawa.
  • Sprague-Northwest Angle Provincial Forest.

The Colorado low is expected to bring 25 to 50 millimetres to southeastern Manitoba this weekend.

The same strengthening northerly wind will also turn rain to snow in those parts of the province, which is also expected to taper off Sunday evening and see no more than five centimetres build up.

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