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Emergency heat on the way for Manitobans left in the dark after weekend pipeline explosion

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Digital writers

Monday, January 27, 2014, 12:15 PM -

Thousands of Manitobans were forced to face a wicked arctic blast without power over the weekend.

Natural gas service for an estimated 4,000 people in municipalities south of Winnipeg was interrupted following a huge explosion at a TransCanada Pipelines valve site near St. Pierre-Jolys early Saturday.

Tanker trucks have been rushing to carry emergency supplies of compressed natural gas to heat critical locations in southern Manitoba.

Manitoba Hydro is hoping to have service restored to most places by Monday, but also warns people to prepare themselves for longer outages.

According to TransCanada, the extreme winter weather conditions are making things more difficult.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba faced another weekend of strong winds and poor visibility as major highways vanished beneath blowing snow.

A large swath of the south of the two provinces, including Regina, Sask., and Winnipeg, Man., were under blowing snow or blizzard warnings, thanks to winds gusting to 80 km/h or more in many locations.

Conditions improved on Monday, but wind chill warnings continue to stretch across both provinces.

"Cold arctic air with temperatures near minus 30 or colder combined with the winds of 20 to 30 km/h are producing wind chill values of minus 40 to minus 45," said Environment Canada in Monday morning's warning. "These extreme wind chills will last into the morning and may redevelop in a few areas again tonight."

Jordan McRae, Otterburne, Manitoba:

Jordan McRae, Otterburne, Manitoba: "A natural gas line explosion threw Otterburne and the surrounding area into a panic early Saturday morning."

With files from The Canadian Press

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