Winnipeg, parts of southern Manitoba clean up from stormy Saturday

People in south-central and southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, are cleaning up from a thunderstorm that rolled through the area on Saturday, flooding roads and some buildings.

Downpour floods streets, parking lots and even a shopping mall in Winnipeg

People in south-central and southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, are cleaning up from a thunderstorm that rolled through the area on Saturday, flooding roads and some buildings.

Winnipeg saw 30 to 60 millimetres of rain in some areas during the noon-hour storm, says Environment Canada meteorologist Maxime Desharnais.

Desharnais said the storm system came from Alberta, via the Dakotas in the United States, and it hasn't fully cleared Manitoba yet.

"The system is not quite over yet … there's still some more rain coming," he said.

The first round of severe thunderstorm warnings was issued shortly before noon and lifted by 2 p.m.

Environment Canada ended severe thunderstorm watches for Winnipeg and much of the province's south-central and southeastern areas just after 4:30 p.m., but the weather agency warns that "a combination of severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and very strong winds" is still possible overnight and into Sunday.

"The worst has passed in terms of accumulation, but now the winds are going to pick up — winds picking up to 70 km/h gusting to 90 overnight tonight, which will gradually diminish during the day tomorrow as the system traverses the province," Desharnais said.

"Winds of 70 gusting 90 km/h are possible along with northwesterly gales on Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg," Environment Canada said.

Some roads in south Winnipeg were flooded by Saturday's storm, including the Kenaston Boulevard underpass and parts of Pembina Highway and Taylor Avenue.

Brenda Gonzalez took this photo of wet floors at St. Vital Shopping Centre around midday Saturday. A thunderstorm has caused flooding in part of the mall. (Courtesy Brenda Gonzalez)
The storm also sent water into parts of St. Vital Shopping Centre.

Brenda Gonzalez, manager of a retail store near the food court, told CBC News the flooding happened very quickly, just as she was about to grab lunch.

She estimated the water is about 16 centimetres deep on some parts of the food court area.

"There's just water everywhere. There's like big puddles of water. And there's security and people taking pictures and [asking], 'What's going on?'" she said.

"They don't know. Like, they were trying to figure it out. They're just closing everything down because the water's going all the way to Chapters."

Gonzalez said the flooding comes at a bad time, as shoppers are coming to the mall to buy back-to-school supplies.

Mall officials could not be reached for comment on Saturday afternoon.

Crews dealing with power outages

Meanwhile, Manitoba Hydro says power outages have been reported in Winnipeg and across the province, keeping crews very busy.

A City of Winnipeg spokesperson said as of 1:15 p.m., crews had received calls about the following storm-related issues:

  • 37 plugged catch basins (on front streets).
  • Seven plugged catch basins (in back lanes).
  • Six sewer backups (clean water).
  • One manhole cover ajar/off.
  • One sewer backup (raw sewage).

Winnipeg police are warning drivers to watch out for loose manhole covers that may be hidden in deep puddles of water.

"If you see something on the roadway — you know, a fair amount of water and it appears to be swirling quite heavily — you know, there's a good possibility that the manhole cover might be off and you certainly wouldn't want to be hitting that," said Const. Eric Hofley.

Hofley said police are also busy dealing with traffic lights not working in a number of areas.


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