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Power nearly restored, Red River crests after early fall snowstorm in Manitoba

Crews cleanup after a snow storm which hit parts of Manitoba Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg on Sunday, October 13, 2019.
Crews cleanup after a snow storm which hit parts of Manitoba Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg on Sunday, October 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

It took two weeks, specialists from several Canadian cities and provinces, helicopters and amphibious vehicles, but power has now been restored in southern Manitoba except to a handful of customers after a storm downed trees, power lines and twisted transmission towers like warm dough.

Manitoba Hydro says all power will be restored Friday to the last of the 150,000 customers who lost it during the weekend of Oct. 11 as an early fall Colorado low brought wet, heavy snow and wicked winds to the province.

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READ MORE: Storm aftermath leaves Kildonan Park restaurant’s future in jeopardy

As of Friday morning at 6:45 a.m., Hydro’s outages map showed six outages in the province, with 20 customers without power, most of those in the areas hit hardest by the storm, including the Interlake and the RM of Grahamdale.

It was unclear if all the remaining customers on the map were without power due to the storm.

Manitoba Hydro’s Bruce Owen said two communities, St. Martin and Dauphin River, were being served by large portable generators as the lines to the community are fixed.

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Now, he said, clean-up and salvage begins.

“We also have to begin planning the repair to our damaged transmission; the crumpled towers you may have seen on our Facebook and Twitter pages.”

“Given the amount of materials we’ve used in such a short period of time — we reset almost 4,000 wood poles since the storm him almost two weeks ago — we are now busy restocking our stores in Winnipeg and at district offices around the province.”

The total cost for repairs and cleanups will likely exceed $100 million, Hydro said Monday.

Hydro president Jay Grewal said Friday that the cleanup is expected to last through mid-November, weather permitting.

“A lot of this damaged equipment is along roads and ditches and may be near private property,” Grewal said.

“We’re asking our customers to be on the lookout for these materials in all areas of southern Manitoba as it could pose a hazard to anyone riding an off-road vehicle such as an ATV, dirt bike or snowmobile, or to cross country skiers and back-country hikers.”

Hydro is asking people not to interfere with any damaged equipment they come across, is it could still be a public safety risk.

READ MORE: City says clean-up of Winnipeg’s storm-damaged trees could take a year

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The outages prompted several thousand people to flee their First Nations into Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg as they waited for the power to return. Global News has reached out to the Red Cross for the latest information on the evacuees.

“Some people have already returned home. Some people won’t be able to return home until all the infrastructure in these communities is back up and running, like the water treatment plants,” said Owen.

Meanwhile, the Red River crested in Winnipeg on Wednesday at 17.16 James Avenue Datum, and Thursday’s levels dropped to 17.13. Spring’s crest was 17.67 on Apr. 15.

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Manitoba premier to declare state of emergency following snow storm