Heavy rain knocks out power lines and floods part of Winnipeg hospital

Winnipeg was hit Thursday by rain so heavy it knocked down power lines, flooded streets and sent water spilling into part of a hospital.

WINNIPEG — Winnipeg was hit Thursday by rain so heavy it knocked down power lines, flooded streets and sent water spilling into part of a hospital.

Sheets of rain started coming down at the end of the morning rush hour. Some of the water seeped into the ceiling of a post-surgery recovery unit at the Victoria General Hospital in the city’s south end, causing part of the ceiling to collapse.

“Two of the six drains on the roof were not draining properly, so simply because of the huge downpour that came down so suddenly — literally in a 40-minute period of time — the water just started to overflow,” said Heidi Graham, spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

“The water came through and fell down onto the floor.”

No one was injured and the four patients in the unit were moved to another part of the building. Hospital workers set up fans to dry the area.

About 70 surgeries scheduled for Thursday and Friday — all elective — were cancelled to allow engineers to inspect and repair the damage.

The heavy rain also downed a handful of power lines throughout the city, temporarily knocking out electricity to about 2,000 homes. In one neighbourhood west of downtown, eight sections of power lines were out.

The water also overwhelmed storm drains and flooded some city streets.

The system passed quickly, however, and the skies cleared before noon. But more rain was forecast for the evening and Friday.