A massive low-pressure system, causing a winter explosion to south-east Manitoba, led to accidents, highway shutdowns, and power outages on Thursday, leaving some travelers stranded as highways closed due to stormy conditions.
"It's a real white spot here, like snow everywhere," Wayne Anderson, rector of the rural village of Piney, southeastern Manitoba said Thursday morning.
"We have more than our share in the southeast corner."
The storm spurred the province to close both eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway southeast of Winnipeg from Highway 207 (Deacon Corner) to Highway 12 due to bad winter driving conditions and a series of falls.
The Manitoba RCMP said they were called to stretch the highway after a couple of semis jackpnifed and hit the ditch Thursday morning. After that, other cars, trucks and other semis also hit the ditch.
The RCMP said no serious injuries were reported in accidents and the highway is expected to remain closed until 21:00. Thursday.
Facebook video from Trans-Canada on Thursday morning:
Environment Canada Meteorologist Dave Carlson said the low-pressure system that originated in the Baja Peninsula would miss Winnipeg, bringing only a few centimeters of snow to the city.
"It looks like we've avoided bullets with this storm," he said.
But it was a different story for the area southeast of the city, where 15 to 20 centimeters of snow could be expected, said CBC meteorologist John Sauder.
The system is moving east and should be outside the province on Thursday night, Sauder said.
The highways in the southeast are snow-covered and the snow is less visible. Conditions forced the province to close Highway 2 from Highway 100 to Elm Creek, and Highway 14 from Highway 32 to Highway 75 due to poor conditions later on Thursday afternoon.
Numerous roads were closed in the US, including Interstate Highway 29, which was closed from the Canadian border to Fargo, N.D.
"Certainly, there are people who had to spend the night in their vehicles on the highway," said Bev Buck, who spent the day Thursday with her husband, Henry, who stayed at a hotel in Watertown, S.D.
A couple from Rivers, Man., Decided to shorten the trip to Florida in an effort to return home before the storm.
Bev says they tried to get to Fargo from Sioux Falls, S.D., but left the drive as conditions increased worse as they drove farther north.
"It wasn't a good decision," she said about the ride, adding that the couple had decided to stop when the fog, which should be at least four inches thick, began to break on the highway and began to see several vehicles in the ditch.
"When the rain came down and you saw the temperature drop … it was like," No, this is really bad. "
Blizzard paralyzed parts of Colorado and Wyoming before bouncing on the Midwest on Thursday, bringing fading conditions to western Nebraska and throwing out heavy rain that led to evacuation in the communities eastward.
South Dakota Governor closed all state offices on Thursday when blizzard conditions moved, while wind, snow blowing, and snow roads also made traveling in western Nebraska treacherous.
Outages, school closures in Manitoba
Here in Manitoba, hundreds remained powerless in St. Malo and south of the city after the storm set off a powerful pole in the area.
#mboutage As you can see, these poles should not look like this. The cross arm rushed out of the column, and 770 people were placed without it. Front loaders dig space around the column so our bucket trucks can get closer to the damaged area pic.twitter.com/OTmFWMdEDz
Due to strong winds and blizzard conditions, many school departments closed on Thursday:
- Seine River School Division – Schools closed.
- Hanover School Division – Schools closed.
- Border Ground School Divisions – Schools are closed.
- Sunrise School Division – Schools closed.
- Red River Valley School Division – Schools closed; teachers work from home.
- Providence University College – closed.
- Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna – closed.
Seven schools were closed in scolaire franco-manitobaine on Thursday:
- École Sainte-Agathe.
- École régionale Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
- Collège régional Gabrielle-Roy.
- École communautaire Réal-Bérard.
- École Pointe-des-Chènes.
- École Saint-Joachim.
- École Lagimodière.
The Calvin Christian Academy bus is canceled, but the shuttle is running.