Manitoba Hydro crews are continuing to battle the winter storm that downed trees, power lines and dumped upwards of 40 cm of snow across southern Manitoba since Thursday.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, more than 37,000 customers were without power, including 26,000 in Winnipeg.
“This is a major weather event,” said Scott Powell, director of corporate communications for Manitoba Hydro.
“The heavy wet snow is weighing down trees and bringing them into contact with overhead wires, causing outages all over our system. We are also seeing equipment failures due to tree contact, and failures due to wet snow sticking to insulators. In other cases, we are seeing the storm break poles and damage the hardware that holds up our wires.”
Additional staff from unaffected areas are being brought in to assist crews in storm-affected regions. However, Hydro says slippery roads are making travel difficult to reach certain areas.
The public utility is no longer providing estimated times for restoration due to the extremely high volume of calls being received.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through thousands of no power calls.”
Manitoba Hydro is also reminding everyone to stay away from downed powerlines.
“If you see a line on the ground, just assume it is still live. Stay away from it, keep others away from it and call 911 immediately,” said Powell. “Also, notify our contact centre at 1-888-MBHYDRO or (204) 360-5900 so we can get a crew there as quickly as possible to make the area safe. It may take some time to get through, but public safety is our first priority.”
Ice buildup on power lines can cause galloping and outages. We’re beginning ice rolling operations today in western Manitoba to clear our lines.
— Manitoba Hydro (@manitobahydro) October 11, 2019