Winnipeg homes flood as torrential downpour knocks out power
Power outages, faulty traffic lights, Polo Park and CBC Manitoba buildings flooded Thursday
Mike Friesen had to contend with a damp basement after the thunderstorm.
"With the downpour I definitely had water entering my basement from a couple points and it got a little moist down there for sure,” Friesen.
Friesen holds choir practice at his house in West Broadway once a week, but Thursday's rehearsal was a little wetter than usual.
He’s just thankful there’s no real damage.
The rain knocked out power to several street lights and flooded roads and underpasses across the city, which caused drivers like Brent Reimer to take a series of detours.
"I came from Transcona and all three underpasses are under water. I had to basically go out of the way to come to a friend's place,” said Reimer. "It's unbelievable."
At least two vehicles were trapped in deep water in the underpass at Higgins Avenue and Main Street.
An underground fire in the 200 block of King Street around 10:30 p.m. Thursday knocked out power to traffic lights in much of downtown.
The CBC Manitoba offices had water gushing through ceiling tiles on the second floor. Parts of Polo Park Shopping Mall were flooded, too.
Mall officials said heavy rain caused an unexpected roof leak. Stores between the south entrance and the Apple store were closed as a result but it was business as usual for the rest of the shopping centre.
On Main Street, Kitty Berns’ salon Berns and Black had water bubbling up from the toilets, flooding the basement.
Berns got a call late last night about the flooding – but she was already dealing with water in her own basement at home.
“All of our stuff from our garage starts floating into our backyard, and my seven year old says, ‘I’ve never seen such torrential rainstorms like this in my entire life,’" said Berns.
The damage wasn’t limited to businesses and homes, either.
On Friday, City of Winnipeg officials reported a slew of damage caused by the rain.
- Plugged catch basins: 100
- Dislodged manhole covers: 25
- Clean water in basement: 66
- Sewer backup (raw sewage): 62
- High water concerns in retention ponds: 4
- Flashing traffic signal lights: 23
- Traffic signal lights completely out (as a result of a power failure): 10
- Flashing traffic signal lights due to a downed traffic signal pole: 1
And for the second time in eight months, Siloam Mission’s basements were flooded.
A representative at Siloam said the building’s mechanical systems were damaged from last night’s rain. Some of the mission’s food and clothing supplies have been lost, including vital winter clothing.
“Stuff before it’s sorted came down the chute and was on the floor,” said Lindsay Smith, Siloam’s director of volunteer services. “Unfortunately, we lost some clothing donations. What really breaks our heart is a lot of it was men’s winter clothing.”
The shelter is still accepting donations.
More rain on the way
CBC's weather specialist Marilyn Maki said Lindenwoods, Tuxedo, southeast Charleswood and the communities of Sanford and Brunkild had between 70 and 75 millimetres in just half an hour of rainfall.
Representing different extremes on the spectrum, the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport recorded 21 mm, while Whyte Ridge received 102 mm of rain.
And it's not done yet. Showers are expected Friday through Sunday.
A system could drop between 25 and 50 mm of rain across southern Manitoba Sunday.