Snowstorm wallops southern Manitoba, offers relief in wildfire fight
Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 3:10PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, October 4, 2012 6:09PM CST
A winter storm hammered parts of southern Manitoba on Thursday, with power outages and poor driving conditions reported.
The precipitation came, however, as a relief for residents and crews in southeastern Manitoba who had been previously battling wildfires due to dry conditions earlier this week.
"It's a bit sloppy but we'll take it. Moisture is moisture and it'll snuff out the fire as we speak," said Jim Swidersky, reeve of the RM of Stuartburn. The wildfires destroyed four homes in and around Vita on Tuesday.
Just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, RCMP said Highway 1 east of Steinbach was down to one lane in some areas.
Neil Gobelle from Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation said the conditions could continue to be challenging.
"(For) the next 48 hours or while we have the snow, caution is advised. Reduce your speeds," he said.
More highway information is available on the province's website.
Environment Canada said a “powerful early season storm” hit parts of southeastern Manitoba, including the Steinbach, Sprague, Whiteshell, Vita, Pine Falls, Nopiming Provincial Park and surrounding areas, on Thursday.
The storm came up from the U.S. late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
"The snow is expected to continue all day in the warning area southeast of Winnipeg, with snowfall accumulations ranging from near 10 cm expected in Steinbach to 30 cm around Sprague. Northerly winds gusting to 70 km/h combined with heavy snow will produce poor visibilities at times. Travel in this area will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses," said Environment Canada Thursday afternoon.
Weather officials said the rest of southern Manitoba will see a rain and snow mix throughout Thursday, with temperatures in the single digits.
Higher snowfall amounts are also expected along higher terrain in western Manitoba.
Weather officials said the heaviest snow will taper off Thursday evening, with some lingering flurries into Friday.
About 1,300 homes in Transcona were without power Thursday due to the storm and downed trees, said Manitoba Hydro. Officials said most had power restored by about 10:30 a.m.
About 2,400 homes in southeastern Manitoba in the Stuartburn, Roseau River, Dominon City and St-Pierre-Jolys areas were also temporarily without power. Electricity was restored to most of those later Thursday morning, said Hydro.
Some outages were also reported in the Falcon Lake region.
The storm brought heavy snowfall to parts of southeastern Manitoba on Oct. 4, 2012, with some areas in the RM of Stuartburn receiving about 25 centimetres by Thursday afternoon.
Damage from the Manitoba snowstorm is shown in West Pine Ridge, near Birds Hill Provincial Park, on Oct. 4, 2012. (photo courtesy James Dyck)
Snowfall is shown in Vita in southeastern Manitoba on Oct. 4, 2012. (image courtesy Venessa Graydon)