Winnipeg declares state of emergency after devastating storm grips city

ABOVE: Manitoba premier declares state of emergency as snowy weather emerges

Winnipeg’s mayor has declared a state of local emergency as the city grapples with the aftermath of a devastating snow storm that damaged thousands of trees, left more 150,000 without power province-wide and brought the city to a near standstill.

“The City of Winnipeg has experienced an unprecedented weather event with strong winds and heavy snowfall,” reads Mayor Brian Bowman’s official declaration in part. “[The storm] continues to require prompt action to prevent or limit harm or damage to the safety, health or welfare of residents.”

The declaration will allow the city to access private property to deal with fallen trees and acquire additional resources. They also plan to ask for help across the country.

READ MORE: ‘This is a significant challenge’: Manitoba still working to restore power, under official state of emergency

Bowman’s call for a local state of emergency comes after Premier Brian Pallister declared an official state of emergency for the province late Saturday.

“Winnipeggers are resilient, and on this Thanksgiving weekend, I continue to ask you to be kind, exercise patience, and continue to check on your family, friends and neighbours, to provide any assistance you can,” Bowman said.

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Snow storm downs wreaks havoc in Portage la Prairie, Man.
Snow storm downs wreaks havoc in Portage la Prairie, Man.

City crews and contractors have been working for more than 48 hours to plow and sand roads as well as clear the streets of trees and debris.

Fifty city crews were working to remove downed trees. About 30,000 city-owned trees were damaged in the storm.

READ MORE: Winnipeggers clean up aftermath of massive October snowstorm

The city has yet to determine the cost of cleaning up after the record-breaking storm, but it will have a significant financial impact — “tens of millions of dollars” of damage, according to WFPS assistant chief Jay Shaw.

Residents are advised to call 311 if a tree is in contact with a power line, of if a tree is blocking a road or sidewalk. If a tree on public property has fallen, but is not touching a power line or blocking the road, they are asked to contact 311 online.

Manitoba premier to declare state of emergency following snow storm
Manitoba premier to declare state of emergency following snow storm

The city is also reminding residents to only make one request per location. They’ve received nearly 2,000 calls to 311 about fallen trees and branches.

Bowman plans to introduce a motion at city council’s executive policy committee Oct. 15 meeting calling for the city to apply for provincial disaster financial assistance.

The state of emergency will last until Nov. 12.

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