Thunder Bay-area snowfall reached 20 to 30 centimetres

Mother Nature has packed another wintry punch to Thunder Bay and the western part of the region.

School buses cancelled, power outages around the city, region

A man uses his snowblower to clear his driveway on Rockwood Avenue in Thunder Bay. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Environment Canada says the latest wintry punch to hit Thunder Bay and area dropped between 20 and 30 cm of snow.

The wet snow knocked trees onto power lines and caused widespread outages, especially in rural areas of the city.

By late Friday afternoon, 1,000 Thunder Bay Hydro customers were still off the grid. Hydro said areas affected included a portion of Gratton Road; John Street Road west of Belrose [including Toms, Paquette, Community Hall, Thompson and White Park]; Hodder Avenue north of Black Bay extended to rural areas off Copenhagen; Melbourne Road; Kivikoski Road; Dog Lake Road; Scotland Drive; Mt. McKay Crescent and Norwester Drive.

Hydro lines rest in branches weighed down with heavy snow along Mapleward Road in Thunder Bay. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

A utility official said the snow load was "considerably heavier" in rural areas compared to the city. Hydro said its crews would work through the evening hours to try to complete repairs.

Hydro One's website indicated over 5,000 customers around Thunder Bay were still offline late Friday. There were more than 30 individual outages, but the utility was targeting 11:30 p.m. for restoring service.

All school buses in Thunder Bay and in rural areas were cancelled on Friday. Rural schools, including the Thunder Bay Christian School, were closed. Holy Cross School was closed because of a power outage in the area that sent nearly 350 students home this morning.

A Thunder Bay Hydro crew removes a fallen tree from a power line. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

Calls for downed power lines also kept Thunder Bay Fire Rescue busy responding to calls. A fire official said on Friday morning that crews had dealt with about 10 calls for pole fires and transformers sparking. Many of those calls were in the County Park and northwest sections of the city.

A late winter storm fills a driveway with snow and heavy branches in Thunder Bay on April 25. (Gene Balec/CBC)

Flooding possible

After the snowfall, the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority updated its flood outlook for Thunder Bay, Oliver-Paipoonge, Neebing and Shuniah areas, as well as O'Connor, Conmee, Gillies and Dorion townships.

The conservation authority said that, with the heavy snowfall expected to melt over the weekend, it expects watercourses to rise and create ponding and flooding in low-lying areas in the coming days.

CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said he expected Friday's snowfall to break the record for April 25, which was 19.8 cm, set in 1950. He noted the average snowfall for the entire month of April is only 13 cm.

By 2 p.m., Environment Canada said 18 cm of snow was recorded at Thunder Bay airport. However in some areas just west and north of the city, accumulations totalled 30 cm or more.

Thunder Bay Police issue advice for your commute home today:

1) Red lights get hard to see. The lights are LED, there is no heat produced so they get covered by sideways falling snow. Look VERY closely.

2) There will be a decrease in the contact between your tires and the pavement. You will experience hydroplaning when you drive through slushy wet messy stuff on the sides of the road and at corners and on side streets.

3) You will get sprayed by other vehicles. Don't panic. Steer and keep control. Make sure you have good wipers, and if you don't - you're in trouble. This isn't a good day for frail or worn out wipers.

4) Please put your mitts on and clean that car before you put yourself in the seat. Yup, it's cold outside, but it's colder in a ditch, and especially if you slide into something and have no windshield left. Then you'll be really wet and cold. You need to be able to see where you are going.

5) Slow and steady, alert and on the ready. You can drive through this - look what you saw during the rest of the winter! This is nothing right?


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