The sudden onset of icy, winter-like conditions on Winnipeg roads led to 97 crashes taking place across the city Thursday evening. Despite the abnormally high volume of collisions, nobody was seriously hurt.
Police caught word of the spike in crashes at approximately 6 p.m. and, before long, had warned residents to steer clear of bridges, where the vast majority of the accidents were taking place.
"Please avoid all bridges in Winnipeg as weather conditions have created hazardous ice conditions and we are experiencing numerous motor vehicle accidents," the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) said in an email statement.
During the peak hours of bedlam, the police had dispatched 30 units to the various scenes to oversee and manage everything. The force sent a mixture of general patrol, community support, and cadets out into the night.
WPS also used the occasion to remind everyone that it is time to start adjusting driving habits for winter conditions.
"With the onset of temperatures below freezing [....] slower speeds, longer stopping distances and increased caution will be necessary for safe travel," read one of its news releases.
A night like Thursday would provide ample reason for people to want to stay at home, but many of Winnipeg's CEOs were, in fact, doing the exact opposite. October 26 was the day that the city's CEO Sleepout 2017 had been planned for, and despite the harsh weather, it went on as intended.
Traffic was closed off in a section of the city's downtown core and approximately 60 business owners spent the night out there, draped in warm clothes and sleeping bags. The annual event has raised just under $800,000 since it began in 2011 and is expected to approach or cross the million-dollar threshold after this year's contributions have been tallied. All the funds go towards initiatives that support ending homelessness.