Winter weather caused poor driving conditions and several school closures throughout southern and central Manitoba Friday morning.
© Jeff Stapleton/CBC
Winter weather caused poor driving conditions and several school closures throughout southern and central Manitoba Friday morning.
Thousands of people are still without power across southern Manitoba, and an overnight parking ban will be in place for some Winnipeg streets after the first wintry wallop of the season left part of the province covered in a thick layer of snow.

As of around 2:30 p.m. Friday, more than 1,400 people were still waiting for power to be restored, after it was knocked out by the sudden inclement weather over the past few days, Manitoba Hydro's outage website said.

Meanwhile, people in Winnipeg will need to be careful where they park their cars overnight, after the city brought in an extended snow route parking ban that will kick in at midnight and continue through 7 a.m. on all designated snow routes.

The city said in a news release that parking ban will stay until it notifies the public that snow clearing is finished.

It's currently the only parking ban in place in Winnipeg, since the city's annual snow route parking ban doesn't start until December.

You can find out if your street is a designated snow route by searching the address on the city's website.

The snowy weather also shut down at least 17 highways in the province earlier in the day, though all were reopened by early Friday afternoon.

The storm also closed schools and buses in several divisions.

But it wasn't all bad news for roads in the province.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Public Insurance said while a typical bad winter day can see upwards of 1,000 claims for traffic collisions, there were only 350 on Wednesday.

And by early afternoon Friday, the preliminary counts for Thursday — Remembrance Day — and Friday combined was about 360, though that number was expected to exceed 600 by the end of the day.

Still, the "very positive" collision counts suggest that lots off people stayed off the roads on Wednesday, and those who were out drove according to road conditions, the MPI spokesperson said.

Prolonged outages

The power outages linked to the weather are scattered throughout southeastern Manitoba, but the highest number remain in communities around Lake Winnipeg.

Power is expected to be restored to most customers by Friday afternoon, according to Hydro's outage map.

By now, some in the Interlake area have been without power for 24 hours, Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen said Friday morning.

And there could still be more outages as the wind blows heavy, snow-covered power lines around, Owen said.

Some Hydro crews have been reassigned to help get power back as soon as possible, but they're facing problems getting to certain areas because of treacherous road conditions.

"Just like everybody else, right? It's slow going for us, it's tough conditions," Owen said.

"And of course, we've got to bring in that specialized equipment if we've got to replace poles."

He urged people to in the future think about having emergency kits ready with things like water, blankets and canned food for prolonged outages.

Owen also asked people to try to be patient as crews work to get to them as fast as they can.

"If you've reported your outage already, we are aware of it. It's just a matter of us now getting to you and getting you back on."

Several communities in central and southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg and Brandon, were under snowfall warnings earlier Friday. All the province's weather alerts have since ended.

Environment Canada said heavy snow, gusty winds and blowing snow were expected, ending later in the day.

The wind made it hard for Environment Canada to measure how much snow has fallen since the weather event began, meteorologist Eric Dykes said.

Generally, southern Manitoba has had between five and 15 centimetres, he said.

The highest amount measured by early Friday was 32.5 centimetres in Pinawa, while Swan River has had 30.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg has seen anywhere from nine to 15 centimetres in the last two days, Dykes said.

With files from Heather Wells and Marina von Stackelberg