Storm cleanup starts as Winnipeggers gauge damage
Winds peaked at 107 km/h, tore down power lines and numerous tree limbs
Powerful gusts of wind during Wednesday's storm have left Winnipeg cleaning up.
As of 10 p.m. on Thursday, 9,000 people in Manitoba were still without power, including some in Winnipeg, according to Manitoba Hydro.
On Twitter, Hydro reported making progress in restoring power in Selkirk, Man. and that crews are working to restore power across the province.
Winnipeg streets and alleys are littered with tree branches as well as a number of snapped power lines.
The city fielded a total of 500 calls related to trees alone, spokeswoman Kailey Barron said in a statement.
Most of the reports came from Charleswood, St. James, St. Charles and the entire northern portion of the city, she said.
The winds in Winnipeg peaked at 107 km/h, tore down power lines and numerous tree limbs, and even ripped off the roof of an apartment complex on Sinclair Street in the West Kildonan neighbourhood.
As of Thursday, the north wing of the building is still evacuated. The south wing is fine.
There is no word on when people will be allowed back in or how long the cleanup will take. Crews have started work at the site.
In the Glendale area, about 20 trees were knocked down around the Glendale Golf and Country Club, forcing it to shut down for Thursday.
A spokesperson for the club said they've never before closed the course due to a storm unless there was flooded areas.
Wednesday's storm, however, didn't leave much in the way of water — it's all damage due to the wind. No buildings at the golf club were impacted, though.
Emma Stevenson, who lives on Talbot Avenue in the city's Elmwood area, was inside her home when she heard a big bang. A tree came down on her roof and ripped it open.
"There was a hole in my bathroom ceiling [and] when the storm calmed down, I saw the tree outside my window," she said.
Lightning was also blamed for several power outages, with at least one strike caught on camera hitting a hydro generator.
Thousands without electricity
A Manitoba Hydro official said 16,000 to 20,000 people in the city were without power at the peak of the outages.
About 30,000 customers had their power restored in the morning, bringing the number of affected customers down significantly, spokesperson Scott Powell said.
One problem is wind and lightning wreaked havoc on Hydro's overhead cables and power lines, Powell said.
"We've had a lot of reports of downed wires across southern Manitoba and that's something that's a priority for us to get those repaired and make those areas safe," he said.
"It's been very widespread — quite a lot of damage to our infrastructure due to the storm."
Powell said some customers, especially those in the St. Andrews area north of Winnipeg, likely won't have their power restored until Friday.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mboutage?src=hash">#mboutage</a> Winnipeg: restoration work into this evening and possibly Friday. Lots of downed lines, broken/damaged poles & transformers.—@manitobahydro
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mboutage?src=hash">#mboutage</a> Whiteshell/Falcon Lake/Bereton/Star Lake: Trees blocking access to downed lines/poles. Restoration to continue into Friday.—@manitobahydro
A City of Winnipeg spokesperson said forestry and other city crews have been out since the storm hit, trying to keep up with the damage. The city has called in extra employees to help clear the debris.
Any branches or trees that fall in a private yard are that homeowner's responsibility, but if it's a city tree, people are asked to call 311.
The city also received nine drainage-related calls, including two for raw sewage backups.
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service also responded to a call on Prairie Smoke Drive in Sage Creek