Thousands without power Sunday morning following storm

Click to play video: 'Weekend storm rips through southern Manitoba, peeling roofs off buildings and knocking out power for thousands' Weekend storm rips through southern Manitoba, peeling roofs off buildings and knocking out power for thousands
A large storm system pushed through southern Manitoba between Saturday and Sunday, battering buildings and at its peak leaving 11,000 Manitoba Hydro customers without power. Global's Anya Nazeravich visited some of the hardest-hit areas. – Jun 8, 2021

Manitobans are picking up the pieces Sunday following a brutal storm that pulled the roof off of buildings, bent trees, and at its peak, left 11,000 Manitoba Hydro customers without power.

As of Sunday morning, Manitoba Hydro says over 9,000 customers were still without power across southern Manitoba.

In an email statement, the utility says the hardest hit areas were St. Vital in Winnipeg, and Steinbach and surrounding areas such as Sprague, Vita, and Piney.

Estimated restoration time for those in St. Vital is 12:30 p.m.

Read more: Severe thunderstorm watches in effect for much of western, central Manitoba

Hydro says crews have been at work trying to restore power across the region since 8:00 p.m. Saturday, but lightning has been limiting their ability to work safely.

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There is currently no estimated restoration for those in and around Steinbach, “as storm damage is widespread throughout that region,” a Hydro spokesperson writes.

Regular updates are posted on Manitoba Hydro’s Twitter page.

Lightning strikes near Steinbach during a storm that passed through southern Manitoba late Saturday and early Sunday. Nicole Kohut / Supplied

Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck says the brand new roof of the town’s old arena was peeled off during the fray.

“We had just refinished (the roof), we built a new multi-complex on the same grounds and in order to keep the old barn looking nice we put a new metal on the exterior,” Dyck told 680 CJOB.

“It peeled the roof we just put on.”

Nicole Krieger lives in Kleefeld and says the storm appeared very suddenly while she, her husband, and their daughter were watching a movie and trying to distract themselves from the lightning.

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“I turned to my husband to ask him if the pressure in his ears had just changed too, because I had to pop my ears,” Krieger says.

“He looked at me and he said “take her and run.”

Krieger says she grabbed her daughter and the family ran into the basement, where they couldn’t see out of the windows due to the heavy rain.

Read more: Incoming Spring storm a welcome surprise for Manitoba farmers

“It sounded like it was extremely loud, howling wind. Like none of our windows or doors broke, and at the time it sounded like we were outside and there was wind going through out ears at extreme pressure,” Krieger says.

After only about five minutes, she says the winds subsided and they went outside to survey the damage.

“There was trampolines, there was branches, all sorts of stuff on the road,” Krieger says.

Charles Kehler has property near Kleefeld, and tells 680 CJOB the worst of the storm didn’t last long, but caused significant damage to the roof of a storage room.

“(It) just ripped right off and blown over,” Kehler said.

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“I saw the wall was leaning over inside and then when I walked over, the roof was gone and I realized that it had blown across the yard.”

Environment Canada Meteorologist Sara Hoffman says reports are still trickling it, but they do not have evidence to indicate there was a tornado in southeastern Manitoba.

She says the strongest wind gust occurred in Menisino, which is east of Vita, at 111 km/h.

Severe thunderstorm watches ended early Sunday morning for most of the province, but were later instated for the following areas:

  • Flin Flon – Cranberry Portage – Snow Lake
  • Swan River – Duck Mountain – Porcupine Provincial Forest
  • The Pas – Wanless – Westray – Clearwater Lake Provincial Park

More to come.

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