NEWS

Manitoba Blizzard Leaves Dozens Of Drivers Stranded On Highway

03/07/2017 08:59 EST

Snow, high winds and low visibility made travel extremely dangerous in parts of Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan Tuesday as a blizzard howled through the region for a second day.

Manitoba said the Trans-Canada Highway was closed from the Saskatchewan boundary to the outskirts of Winnipeg. Highways 16, 5 and 45 were closed from the Saskatchewan boundary to past Brandon, Minnedosa and Dauphin.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Trans-Canada was closed from Regina to Belle Plaine and from Regina to Balgonie due to a multi-vehicle crash near Pense, and RCMP said weather was making highway travel dangerous in many parts of Saskatchewan.

The storm knocked out power to thousands of customers in southwest Manitoba and stranded dozens of motorists.

"A lot of cars, the two lanes are totally in gridlock,'' a motorist named J.P. told radio station CKLQ Tuesday from his car on the Trans-Canada Highway near Souris, Man.

"You can't move anywhere and we're just trying to keep warm.''

Volunteers from the Rural Municipality of Whitehead used snowmobiles to shuttle 63 stranded motorists to a community school west of Brandon so they could warm up and have a meal.

"You can't move anywhere and we're just trying to keep warm.''

A grader operator also managed to plow through deep drifts to free some vehicles from the snow.

Reeve Heather Curle said there were warnings about the storm but it took some people by surprise. Curle said she is proud of how people in the area responded despite the blizzard conditions.

"It is still blowing like crazy and there is zero visibility,'' Curle said Tuesday.

"I think it is just typical of Manitoba communities to pull together and help everybody out.''

The storm prompted some school divisions in Manitoba to shut down or cancel school bus service.

In Saskatchewan, the provincial government said travel was not recommended on parts of the Trans-Canada Highway and other roads east of Regina. The bad weather also caused some flights to be cancelled or delayed at the Regina International Airport.

RCMP say a man was killed Tuesday morning on Highway 22 near Gerald, Sask., in a crash involving a tractor trailer, a tow truck and two cars. Police have not said what caused the crash, but the area was under a blizzard warning.

Weyburn police said high winds blew the roof off of the Pho Saigon restaurant. There were no injuries.

Environment Canada said blizzard warnings remained in effect for some areas but the conditions were to improve overnight and into Wednesday.

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