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Thousands in Manitoba Still in Dark, Minnesota Power's Help Requested

An early-season winter storm caused damage such as this in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, knocking out power to tens of thousands. An early-season winter storm caused damage such as this in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, knocking out power to tens of thousands. |  Photo: Manitoba Hydro

WDIO-TV
Updated: October 14, 2019 11:05 AM

Power crews are spending a Canadian holiday weekend trying to restore service to tens of thousands of people in Manitoba.

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The outages began with the slow-moving, early-season winter storm that moved through the region starting Friday.  At one point, about 40,000 homes and businesses were without power.  The number was down to about 20,000 as of Monday morning.

Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada.

Manitoba Hydro, the province's electric utility, says it could take days to get everyone back online.  The storm damaged major transmission towers and broke hundreds of power poles in the central and south-central portions of Manitoba, knocking out power to most of the city of Portage la Prairie and several remote Indigenous communities.

Premier Brian Pallister declared a state of emergency Saturday, giving Manitoba Hydro access to additional resources and allowing it to ask for help from neighboring utilities, including Minnesota Power.  Manitoba Hydro says this is the first time it has ever asked for help from other utilities.

Meanwhile, southern Manitoba rivers, lakes, and streams continue to rise.  The Red River Floodway was activated last Wednesday and is expected to operate until the end of October to lower river levels in Winnipeg.

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