Southeast Saskatchewan. could face extended power outages due to winter storm

SaskPower employees were away early Sunday morning to deal with widespread power outages in southeast Saskatchewan following a winter storm that caused ‘extensive damage’ to electrical infrastructure and forced the shutdown of several sections of road in the area.

From 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, power outages affected around 24,000 people along the province’s southern and eastern borders, SaskPower said. the blackouts spread as far north as Broadview and about 70 kilometers west of Estevan. Many communities remain without electricity.

SaskPower crews pulled out Saturday night despite multiple remaining outages in the southeast corner due to high winds and unsafe working conditions.

Around noon on Sunday, SaskPower released an update saying crews were conducting a full damage assessment, including by helicopter, but road conditions and high wind gusts were slowing their progress and efforts to restore the faults.

“Crews will begin assessing damage once conditions are safe. Additional crews are on the way. [to] nearby areas to help with restoration,” said an update posted on Twitter.

He said gusty winds and rainfall had caused extensive damage to the area and some customers could go without power for “an extended period”.

Several communities in southeast Saskatchewan are experiencing power outages due to a winter storm that swept through the area. (SaskPower)

West of Estevan, Emily Kroeker hopes to see a SaskPower truck come to a halt soon as her husband, Mark, and their two daughters are holed up without power.

They live on an acreage where a utility pole cracked and fell just outside causing a power line to hang in their driveway, but they might be able to get out of their neighbors driveway if they let it. .

“The power poles right in front of our house, three of them are broken – the tops are broken – and the power lines are crossing our driveway and into the ditch,” Kroeker said, noting a pole in front of his neighbor’s house. is broken in two.

She thinks she saw sparks coming from one of them, or it was an electric arc. She told people to watch out for downed power lines and treat them all as live.

Their power went out about 8 p.m. Saturday and remained off just before noon Sunday.

Kroeker said while they worried about the cold weather with an expected low of -15 in areas like Estevan on Sunday night, the family has a generator they can turn on to heat the house or get access to electricity. water – beyond the buckets they have filled with water if they need it.

“We’re doing pretty well at the moment, if it goes on too long we might be a bit worried,” she said.

On Saturday night, a woman said the Estevan Fire Department pulled a woman out of a broken elevator during a power outage at the Estevan Hotel.

A witness said a mother was stuck in an elevator for just over an hour, with her five-year-old son waiting in the lobby.

“When the firefighters finally opened those doors and she got out, this little five-year-old boy came out – ‘Mom!’ — and giving her a big hug,” Jenny Hagan said.

Power at Affinity Place, home of the Estevan Bruins, was powerless for part of Saturday night.

According to the Bruins’ Twitter, the SJHL team’s game against the Flin Flon Bombers was almost postponed to Sunday due to the power outage.

At around 9 p.m., the team said power had been restored after an initial outage around 7 p.m.

He added that in the event of another power cut, the match would be postponed to Sunday afternoon.

SaskTel said in a statement that services to some southeast residents have dropped and others may drop as the backup battery runs out.

In the communities of Arcola, Carlyle, Kisbey, Kenosee Lake, Manor and Redvers, there is no internet, wireless or landline service, and there is no estimated time for repairs to be completed.

Road closures near the Manitoba border

Several trans-provincial border ports to Manitoba were closed on Sunday due to poor driving conditions, according to the Saskatchewan Roadside Helpline.

Highway 8, parallel to the Manitoba border, is closed north of Moosomin. Several other sections it crosses, including highways 1, 48 and 308, are all closed to traffic along the eastern border due to poor winter driving conditions.

The Saskatchewan Highway Hotline says several travel routes in the southeast region of the province are closed due to poor winter driving conditions. (Saskatchewan Highway Hotline)

Environment Canada lifted winter storm warnings Sunday morning for three regions in the southeast of the province. These were put in place on Saturday as the region braced for a Colorado low to spread on its way to Manitoba.

Environment Canada senior meteorologist Chris Stammers said there was still a very narrow band of light snow in Saskatchewan.

“The worst is over, there are still remnants…mostly near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border right now, but it’s pretty light,” he said.

Stammers said he was unaware of the amount of snowfall in the communities because he had not yet received reports.

He also said it’s not unlikely that a Colorado Low will move through the province at this time of year, although two are rarer.

However, the cold spell hitting the southeastern prairies could break records on Sunday evening. In Estevan, the Sunday night low is -15.

“The normal low for this time of year is around 1, so we’re looking at temperatures around 15 degrees below normal,” he said.