Wed. May 25th, 2022

The season’s first winter storm arrived in northwestern Ontario overnight, forcing one of the region’s highways to shut down and knocking out power in several communities.

Snow began to fall in the Kenora and Lake of the Woods area Wednesday afternoon as the storm worked itself east of Manitoba. The same system has most of southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario under different weather advice from Environment Canada.

Highway 17 is closed between the Manitoba border and Shabaqua, northwest of Thunder Bay, due to poor road and weather conditions, according to the Ontario 511 Traveler Information Service.

Traffic conditions have been updated on the Ontario 511 website.

Hydro One reported a series of power outages between Dryden, Ont. and the Manitoba border in the afternoon, affecting more than 4,000 customers. The major outages shown on the utility’s storm center map appear to be west of Kenora. There are also several outages in the area around Thunder Bay, affecting nearly 2,000 customers.

Meanwhile, Thunder Bay has been spared the snow, but there has been constant rain overnight along with strong winds.

Environment Canada has a rainfall warning in effect for the city all day, and winds have been forecast from the east with gusts up to 80 kilometers per hour.

  • Watch the evil winds send strong swells up on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lake Superior has rolled today thanks to strong winds. 0:41

In Kenora, Gerry Cariou spent most of his morning shoveling snow – only a day after clearing leaves from his conservatory.

“This is my first shovel, and unfortunately … it’s heavy snow, so it was a nightmare,” Cariou said. “I had to take things from the canopies on my deck, which had already started to bend with the snow on top of it.”

Thursday’s snowfall has come a little later than usual for northwestern Ontario, which usually has snow on the ground at Halloween, Cariou said.

The snow is a few inches deep on the ground in Vermilion Bay, Ont. after an overnight snowstorm that hit southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. (Posted by Steve Smith)

“It’s maybe a week or two later than usual, it’s later, but not so much later,” Cariou said. “Last Sunday I was out fishing muskie and it was 10 C I did not want to be out there fishing today.”

Reagan Breeze, who lives in Dryden, said it was a mix of snow and rain as he went to bed, but he woke up to a winter wonderland Thursday morning.

“It looks pretty white, covered out there right now, and it also fell pretty well,” Breeze said. “I can not see any leaves anymore. I can not see anything green. I would say maybe close [five┬ácentimetres] on earth.”

Although some areas, such as Thunder Bay, managed to miss the snow, it fell quickly and heavily in the Sioux Lookout, Ont. (Posted by Kelly Beattie)

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