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Early snowfall causes power outages, relieves wildfire


October 5, 2012
By The Canadian Press

Oct. 5, 2012, Winnipeg – An early winter storm has hammered parts of southern Manitoba on Thursday, with power outages and poor driving conditions reported, though the snow came as a relief for residents and crews in southeastern Manitoba who had been battling wildfires due to dry conditions earlier this week.

Oct. 5, 2012, Winnipeg – An early winter storm has hammered parts of southern Manitoba on Thursday, with power outages and poor driving conditions reported.

However, the precipitation came as a relief for residents and crews in southeastern Manitoba who had been battling wildfires due to dry conditions earlier this week.

"It's a bit sloppy but we'll take it. Moisture is moisture and it'll snuff out the fire as we speak," said Jim Swidersky, reeve of the RM of Stuartburn.

The wildfires destroyed four homes in and around Vita, Man., on Tuesday.

Just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, RCMP said Highway 1 east of Steinbach was down to one lane in some areas.

Neil Gobelle from Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation said the conditions could continue to be challenging.

"(For) the next 48 hours or while we have the snow, caution is advised. Reduce your speeds," he said.

Environment Canada said a "powerful early season storm" hit parts of southeastern Manitoba, including Steinbach, Sprague, Whiteshell, Vita, Pine Falls, Nopiming Provincial Park and
surrounding areas.

"The snow is expected to continue all day in the warning area southeast of Winnipeg, with snowfall accumulations ranging from near 10 cm expected in Steinbach to 30 centimetres around Sprague," said
Environment Canada.

"Northerly winds gusting to 70 kilometres per hour combined with heavy snow will produce poor visibilities at times. Travel in this area will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses."

Weather officials said the heaviest snow will taper off Thursday evening, with some lingering flurries into Friday.

About 1,300 homes in Transcona were without power Thursday due to the storm and downed trees, said Manitoba Hydro. Officials said most had power restored by about 10:30 a.m.

About 2,400 homes in southeastern Manitoba in the Stuartburn, Roseau River, Dominon City and St-Pierre-Jolys areas were also temporarily without power. Electricity was restored to most of those later Thursday morning.