Thunder Bay·Video

Winter storm brings highway closures, power outages across northwest Ontario

A winter storm swept through northwest Ontario Thursday, closing one of the region's main highways and knocking out power to homes in the area.

Snowfall began overnight Thursday, with more expected until middle of the day Friday

Semis in the ditch on Highway 17 in northwestern Ontario

6 months ago
Duration 1:32
Trucker Jagjit Singh captures the snowy, slippery scene on the Trans-Canada Highway outside Ignace, Ont., Thursday.

The first winter storm of the season arrived in northwestern Ontario overnight Thursday, forcing one of the region's main highways to close and knocked out power in several communities. 

Snow began falling in the Kenora and Lake of the Woods area Wednesday afternoon as the storm worked itself east from Manitoba. That same system has most of south Manitoba and northwest Ontario under various weather advisories from Environment Canada.

Highway 17 was closed between the Manitoba border and Shabaqua, northwest of Thunder Bay, due to poor road and weather conditions, according to the Ontario 511 traveller information service.

Traffic conditions are updated on the Ontario 511 website.

Hydro One reported a number of power outages between Dryden, Ont. and the Manitoba border Thursday afternoon, affecting more than 4,000 customers. The largest outages shown on the utility's storm centre map appeared to be west of Kenora. There were also several outages in the Thunder Bay surrounding area, affecting nearly 2,000 customers.

Meanwhile, Thunder Bay was spared the snow but a steady rain fell overnight along with strong winds that lasted through the day. 

Watch the wicked winds send up strong swells on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ont. 

Angry Lake Superior

6 months ago
Duration 0:42
Lake Superior has been rolling today thanks to high winds.

In Kenora, Gerry Cariou spent most of his morning Thursday shovelling snow — just a day after cleaning leaves from his eavestrough. 

"This is my first shovel, and unfortunately .. it's heavy snow, so it was a nightmare," Cariou said. "I had to take the stuff off the canopies on my deck, that was already starting to bend with the snow on top of it." 

Thursday's snowfall came a little later than usual for northwestern Ontario, which usually has snow on the ground by Halloween, Cariou said. 

Snow is a few centimetres deep on the ground in Vermilion Bay, Ont. following an overnight snow storm that hit southern Manitoba and northwest Ontario. (Submitted by Steve Smith)

"It's maybe a week or two later than normal, it's later, but not that much later," Cariou said. "On Sunday I was out muskie fishing and it was 10 C, I wouldn't want to be out there muskie fishing today." 

Reagan Breeze, who lives in Dryden, said it was a mix of snow and rain when he went to bed, but he awoke to a winter wonderland Thursday morning.

"It's looking pretty white, covered out there right now, and it came down a pretty good amount as well, too," Breeze said. "I can't see any leaves anymore. I can't see any green. I would say maybe close to [five centimetres] on the ground."

Though some areas, like Thunder Bay, managed to miss the snow, it fell fast and heavy in Sioux Lookout, Ont. (Submitted by Kelly Beattie)