Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Crews clean up after a snow storm hit parts of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, on Oct. 13, 2019.

John Woods/The Canadian Press

It could be days before Manitoba Hydro is able to restore power to all of the customers blacked out by a snow storm that blasted southern areas of the province, prompting a state of emergency.

The utility said 34,000 customers were still without electricity by noon on Sunday.

“It is clear the tremendous effort to restore power and other activities will be ongoing for some time,” Premier Brian Pallister said in a news release Sunday.

Story continues below advertisement

“The state of emergency will help with that effort.”

Portage la Prairie, about 90 kilometres west of Winnipeg, has been especially hard hit – tweeting that the city’s sewage lift stations were operating on backup power and that residents should not flush their toilets – at all.

Other communities are also affected, including a number of remote Indigenous communities.

Manitoba Hydro said the powerful and slow-moving storm, which began on Thursday, damaged major transmission towers and broke hundreds of hydro poles. The utility has said the heavy snow and blocked roads made it difficult for crews to initially assess the damage in the hard-hit areas.

In some areas it said there were reports of snowdrifts more than two metres high.

“The effects of the storm are far worse than what we initially anticipated in those areas,” Manitoba Hydro chief executive Jay Grewal said in a statement on Sunday, which noted repairs will take days.

“Sections of our transmission and distribution system are completely destroyed and will require a total rebuild before coming back on line.”

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Grewal said that impassable roads are still a problem, and that there may be shortages of materials necessary for repairs.

The province has asked people to restrict non-essential travel to facilitate snow-clearing for emergency response, to call 911 about downed power lines and to ensure proper ventilation when using alternative combustible heat sources.

The Canadian Red Cross said it has opened a warming shelter at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg for people from up to 11 First Nations that have been without power, in some cases more than 48 hours.

It said the response is part of an agreement between the Red Cross and the federal government and follows a decision by the leadership of the communities in consultation with Ottawa.

The province explained that the state-of-emergency declaration will allow Manitoba Hydro to invoke mutual aid clauses with neighbouring utilities. It said that immediately following the declaration, Hydro reached out to Ontario’s Hydro One, Minnesota Power and Sask Power to request resources such as replacement transmission towers, distribution poles and specialized electrical equipment, as well as crews.

Ms. Grewal said the declaration also allows the utility to access snowplows and other resources from the province and municipalities.

Story continues below advertisement

She acknowledged the situation creates “a great deal of hardship.”

“We are trying our best to deliver power from other supply sources to the affected areas,” Ms. Grewal said in the statement. “But in many cases the damage to the local distribution systems is so widespread, there is no way to get that power to those customers.”

The province is also warning rivers have been rising and that it is monitoring the levels as the snow, mixed with rain, melts.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies