CBC News Posted: Jan 26, 2014
A pipeline explosion near Otterburne, Man., 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg, has left thousands without gas to heat their homes as temperatures drop to -20 C, feeling more like -34 C with the wind chill.
The outage began after a natural gas pipeline blew up shortly after midnight on Saturday and burned for more than 12 hours. Officials said close to 4,000 people have now lost heat in several communities.
The Rural Municipality of Hanover declared a state of local emergency Saturday afternoon, in a news release that said the outage was expected to last 24 to 72 hours.
Temperatures dipped to near -20 C overnight, and on Sunday, Environment Canada issued a blowing snow warning for the Winnipeg area. Winds are making the temperature feel like -34 C.
“We are in the midst of another temperature drop. A bit of an Arctic front is moving in here, and to the south of us, there is a blizzard system, so people in this area are going to get a nasty, cold, winter storm day,” CBC’s Katie Nicholson reported.
Emergency Measures spokesperson Nicki Albus on Saturday acknowledged cold weather is on the way.
“We know it’s cold and people may be concerned about that but we are on the job here. Everyone here’s communicating well. We have a great group of people at the site and in the communities who have set up their emergency operation centres to handle this dilemma.”
She said warming centres have been set up to take in residents who have no heat.
The town of Niverville said it has lost gas service and that will continue for at least 24 hours and possibly “multiple days.”
Manitoba Hydro said the following communities are affected:
- New Bothwell.
- St. Malo.
- Ste. Agathe.
Hydro said it does not know when service will be restored but that people should “prepare for an extended outage.”