Schools close after freezing rain leads to icy roads, power outages

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Schools close after freezing rain leads to icy roads, power outages

Freezing rain left thousands without power and forced several schools to close in southern Manitoba Friday.

The Interlake, Lord Selkirk, Prairie Rose and Evergreen school divisions cancelled classes for the day as slick roads made for dangerous driving conditions on a number of Manitoba highways.

Sidewalks weren't in much better condition Thursday. A Winnipeg Regional Health Authority spokesperson said at least 58 people made trips to local hospitals Thursday after falling on slippery sidewalks — the highest daily total for fall-related injuries since the beginning of February. 

Highway 10 from Wasagaming to the north gates of Riding Mountain National Park was closed due to poor winter driving conditions.

Many other highways were also impacted by poor, primarily icy, conditions, the Manitoba Infrastructure road report says. That includes parts of the Trans-Canada Highway and a large section of Highway 6.

Hydro spokesperson Scott Powell said the rain also covered and froze along power lines, leading to outages in Portage la Prairie, Morden, Killarney and Brandon. 

It isn't yet clear how many people in the south were affected, but Powell estimated about 1,800 customers west and 3,400 customers north of Winkler have had power restored after outages throughout the day.

Crews were been dispatched to hard hit areas to melt iced-up lines and restore power, although Powell said the timelines for restoring hydro to some homes will be dependent on whether freezing rain continues to cause problems.