Winnipeggers woke up the substantial aftermath of an unexpected October snowstorm, from fallen trees to downed power lines.
Even on Thanksgiving Monday Winnipeggers like Valarie Burachysky are still busy cleaning up fallen tree branches in their yards.
“There are a few trees as you can see that have come down and I have a power line that’s hanging in the backyard so my power is precariously still present,”
“The actual extent of the damage is really only presenting itself now that the snow has melted you actually see where the breaks are,”
Fifty city crews are focusing their efforts to clear and remove the fallen branches alone.
Lorraine Thomas pulled back the curtain of her front window to the sight many Winnipeggers are familiar with — massive, broken tree branches.
“I guess my worry is there’s still more snow coming, so there’s more trees that are going to go down,” Lorraine said while watching an arborist cut down branches of her elm tree.
When Thomas noticed the damage to the tree, she called for help.
“I asked the city, I said, ‘Can you come look and see, it’s not a city tree, it’s not your problem, but would you just tell us if it’s dangerous?’ And he goes, ‘Well, you’ll definitely want to get this out this week for sure,” she said, explaining the situation.
Arborist Mark Vickers says Thomas isn’t alone. He received hundreds of calls from Winnipeggers with fallen branches covering their front lawns.
“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Vickers says, looking out towards the street.
“We’re trying to get everything done that we possibly can in the next few days and hopefully we can get caught up but I would think there’s a few days of work for all the companies in the city,” he said.
While the city says they’ve made significant progress since Friday, they still have a long way to go before the clean up is complete.
Mayor Brian Bowman said the tree canopy has been severely damaged, but the city’s priority remains the safety of residents.
“There’s some beautiful trees that have been lost and a lot of damage. I think in the days to come, it’s going to become clearer for Winnipeggers and the city of Winnipeg Public Works Department just how bad it is,” Bowman said.
The city alone has relieved nearly 2,000 calls to 311 by Saturday about fallen trees and branches.
Emergency manager with the city Jay Shaw says residents can expect a plan in the next 24 to 36 hours.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from citizens with concerns about the trees,” Shaw said. “The mayor has expressed his concern about the situation, and we’ll be responding with more information and what our recovery efforts are on that.”
While the city creates that plan, Thomas’s downed elm is putting a damper on her Thanksgiving plans.
“My neighbour is supposed to host Thanksgiving, so she was going to use our oven. I talked to her and she’s thinking she’ll just go out for dinner instead,” Thomas said.
“Tomorrow we’re hosting, and our neighours are hosting, so there’s no place to park our cars, so we’re going, ‘OK well, we’ll make do.
Winnipeg residents are reminded that if they spot a tree on a power line to call 911 immediately.
Fallen trees blocking roads or on public property should be called in to 311, while fallen trees on private property are the homeowner’s responsibility.
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