An unseasonably intense snow storm on Oct 4 and 5 put an abrupt end to summer-like weather. Less than a week earlier we were basking in near record heat. On September 29, it was nearly 30°C in Winnipeg, and it was in the high twenties throughout southern Manitoba. And on October 2, just two days before the winter wallop, it was in the low to mid twenties.
|Plowing in early October! Pic by Steinbachonline.com|
|Map thanks to google maps|
|Winnipeg, pic by Neil Carleton/CBC|
Strong winds gusting up to 70 km/h accompanied the snowfall, only worsening visibility. RCMP had issued travel advisories east of Winnipeg since many vehicles ended up in the ditch along the Trans-Canada due to icy, snow-covered highways. Some parts of the Trans-Canada were down to one lane.
Steinbach Towing was exceptionally busy as a result. At one point on Oct 4, they had 26 calls on the go all at the same time. They were forced to prioritize drivers, starting with those who were stranded. They also ended up working through the night.
|Drooping power lines; pic by Lothar Dueck, sent to CBC|
In total, at least 250 hydro poles had to be replaced, costing Manitoba Hydro at least $800,000. Crews worked full 16-hour days, and could only work during the day.
Intermittent telephone and wireless service outages were felt as well due to power interruptions. However, MTS did the best they could to maintain the services with backup generators and battery power. Hospitals and personal-care homes also used alternate power sources, avoiding the need for evacuations.
However, the precipitation was much welcomed by firefighters who had been battling tough fires before the snowfall. Firefighting efforts were completely halted and fires appeared to be mainly out.
|Vita Oct 4, What a difference a day makes! Pic by Jim Swidersky/CBC|
|Flooded Gimli streets; pic by Ken Krebs, sent to TWN|
In Gimli, strong winds with the system pushed water from Lake Winnipeg onto streets. Clogged sewer drains kept the water on the streets. Crews had to pump the water back into the lake and clear the clogged drains of leaves and sand. No homes were damaged.
Snowfall this early is rare in southern Manitoba, but does occur from time to time, especially over the higher elevations of western Manitoba. In fact, snow has fallen in these higher elevations as early as September 12. On Sep 12-13, 1903, 10-30 cm of snow fell in western Manitoba near the Saskatchewan border. In October 1959, 3 major snowstorms dumped over 1 metre of snowfall over southwestern Manitoba, making it the snowiest month ever in Brandon. On Oct 7-8, 1985, 10-15 cm fell over Winnipeg with higher amounts in other parts of the RRV. And more recently, on Oct 5, 2005, 20-45 cm fell over southwestern Manitoba with 5-10 cm in Winnipeg. The earliest accumulation of snowfall in Winnipeg was on September 20, 1945 with 1.5 cm.
|Lots of cars in the ditch & trees bending over from the snow.. Pic by Steinbachonline.com|
This post contains information, photos or video from the following sources:
NWS Grand Forks
Environment Canada Weatheroffice
The Weather Network
Winnipeg Free Press