Hundreds without power amid significant rainfall, snowfall in southern Manitoba

·3 min read

WINNIPEG — Rain and snow led to power outages, highway closures and flooded streets Sunday in parts of Manitoba.

Environment Canada issued rain and snow warnings for most of the southern half of Manitoba, and the province's Hydrologic Forecast Centre issued a flood warning for the Red River Valley from Emerson at the U.S. border to the Red River Floodway inlet just south of the city of Winnipeg.

"Water levels on most tributaries in the Red River basin and along the Red River main stem are rising quickly in response to the rainfall and will continue to rise over the coming days," a flood bulletin from the Manitoba government stated on Sunday afternoon.

"Some ditches and waterways are still ice covered or contain snow-limiting water flows. As high amounts of rainfall occurring in a short period may cause overland flooding, citizens are advised of the potential for the sudden rise of water levels in these areas."

Manitoba Hydro reported nearly 900 power outages as of Sunday morning, affecting more than 16,000 customers. Numerous highway sections are closed, according to Manitoba 511.

Police in Winnipeg began posting notices on social media late Saturday that drivers needed to watch out for flooding in underpasses, noting some vehicles were getting stranded. And at one point early Sunday, police said a thoroughfare in the city's west end had closed when part of it collapsed.

To the southwest, the Rural Municipality of Stanley said on its website that sandbags were available at its public works shop, but updated the message a few hours later to warn the shop was blocked by flooding and that sandbags would need to be picked up at the municipality's administration office.

The City of Winkler in southern Manitoba, meanwhile, said on its website that its sewer system was overwhelmed due to the rain and asked people to go easy on water use.

"Any water used in your homes will add further strain to the system and could cause backup," a notice on the website stated.

Environment Canada said a Colorado Low continues to bring significant rain, with amounts reaching 30 to 60 millimetres in total for southern Manitoba over the weekend.

It noted that this much precipitation over frozen or saturated ground may lead to localized flooding including in basements and underpasses.

Meanwhile, the agency said some areas will continue to see heavy snow.

Manitoba had already had an overland flood warning in effect since Thursday that extended from the Saskatchewan boundary eastward to Highway 12 and from the United States border north to the Trans-Canada.

The province said it activated the Red River Floodway on Saturday, which diverts some of the river's flow around Winnipeg.

A high water advisory has also been issued for the Whiteshell lakes area, as levels on most lakes continue to rise due to the rain and snow melt.

Manitoba Hydro said that it didn't know how long may of its outages would take to fix..

"Thanks for your patience, we know this sucks and we're doing our best," a tweet Sunday morning said.

"Think we can say on behalf of all Manitobans these supposed May flowers better be UNREAL."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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