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Winter storm likely led to man's death by highway

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 
A vehicle sits on its roof on the North Perimeter Highway near Brookside Boulevard Monday. Blowing snow caused poor visibility throughout southern Manitoba.

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A vehicle sits on its roof on the North Perimeter Highway near Brookside Boulevard Monday. Blowing snow caused poor visibility throughout southern Manitoba.

THE Monday storm that paralyzed southern Manitoba may have claimed a life near Landmark.

A 54-year-old man was found unconscious early Monday morning on the side of a road near a vehicle that had crashed in a ditch.

RCMP said a passing motorist came upon the man at about 6:30 a.m. and was unable to revive him.

Police believe the man walked away from his vehicle after it struck the ditch but he managed to get about 50 metres before he collapsed. Visibility and road conditions were treacherous in the area.

An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.

The storm closed most highways in southern Manitoba and there were many crashes reported as a result of the winter storm.

Deep-freeze

Environment Canada expected the snowfall to end Monday night. But the winds were to persist all night long, with gusts from the north expected to reach 60 km/h -- and now we're back into the deep-freeze.

The forecast for today calls for sunny skies with a daytime high of -23 C and a wind chill of -38.

It was sheer luck no one was injured at a dramatic scene Monday at the Trans-Canada Highway closure near Headingley.

Truckers in two semis crashed into the barricade blocking off Highway 1, sending debris that damaged an RCMP cruiser on guard at the road closure, police said in a statement.

"Two semis hit the road-closure barricades at the Headingley weigh scales despite a marked police vehicle with lights on at the location near the gate," RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Line Karpish said. There were no injuries.

Poor visibility and treacherous driving conditions were blamed for a 10-car pileup on the Trans-Canada at St. Francois Xavier Monday morning and countless other collisions around the province.

The storm prompted the RCMP to urge motorists across southern Manitoba to stay home.

Karpish said there were countless reports of people driving into ditches from Virden to Steinbach.

Driving conditions across southern Manitoba were mostly poor, with drifting and blowing snow often reducing visibility to zero throughout the day.

RCMP reported 30 crashes, but none was serious.

The Trans-Canada was closed from Headingley to Portage and Highway 75 was closed from Winnipeg to the U.S. border. The interstate to Grand Forks, N.D., was also closed.

The City of Winnipeg launched a major snow-clearing effort Monday, targeting main and bus routes, as well as collector streets. Sanding trucks were scheduled to work around the clock to improve roadway traction.

The city said back-lane plowing is to begin this morning and would continue until completed.

The province reported poor driving conditions for most highways in southern Manitoba. The Trans-Canada east to the Ontario border remained opened but was mostly snow- and ice-covered, with extremely poor driving conditions.

Blowing and drifting snow were reported on highways 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 15, resulting in zero visibility at times. Similar conditions were reported on Highway 59 from the U.S. border to Victoria Beach.

 

-- staff

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