What you need to know on Saturday for the holiday storm hitting eastern Ontario, western Quebec
Eastern Ontario is still riddled with winter weather warnings as a chaotic mix of precipitation and high winds hit Thursday night.
With the storm expected to continue into the weekend, here’s a list of things you need to know ahead of the holidays, including power outages, transit and road conditions, and community updates in the area.
Latest weather forecast
According to Environment Canada’s latest update Saturday morning, the storm that battered the region Thursday night will continue to bring significant rainfall through Saturday, although its shape will depend on where you live.
The agency says snow and local snowdrifts will continue in Ottawa today and possibly into the night.
- If your device is low on performance or data usage, get your Storm updates on CBC Lite. It is our low bandwidth text only website.
Temperatures are expected to drop, creating the conditions for a possible shock freeze.
Wind gusts of 70 to 80 km/h make the temperatures appear even colder. With the wind chill it feels like -20 and blowing snow will also develop.
The agency has issued a snowstorm warning for Kingston, Brockville and the surrounding area. It has been warned that these conditions, which began Friday night, will continue into Saturday morning and possibly early afternoon. Gusts of 90 to 100 km/h and a whopping 20 to 30 centimeters of snowfall are expected there by Sunday.
Lake effect snow is forecast for the remainder of the weekend so it’s likely to be a white but chaotic Christmas.
Around 8:00 a.m. Saturday, Hydro Ottawa reported some small outages across the city. Check the outage map to see if your area is affected.
Crews have already restored power to more than 100,000 customers from the start of the storm Thursday night through Friday night, a news release said.
Hydro Ottawa said on-call teams have been ordered into 24-hour rotations to respond to any issues.
According to an outage map from Hydro One, a few hundred customers in Ottawa Valley communities were struggling with outages.
Around 8 a.m. Hydro-Québec said more than 17,500 customers in the Outaouais are experiencing outages.
Traffic and OK Transpo
The Ontario Department of Transportation said it was preparing to keep roads as clear as possible during the snowfall. In a statement, the ministry said it had more than 1,100 pieces of equipment ready for use. It has also proactively used anti-icing fluid on roads before winter storms.
The city is warning transit drivers to expect delays on Saturday as the storm continues to ravage travel.
On Friday, the city reported several problems on the roads, such as traffic lights not working due to power outages. Late Friday afternoon, Ottawa Police said there had been 28 collisions, mostly vehicles that slid off the road.
Ontario Provincial Police said there were multiple collisions on the 416 and 417 freeways and some temporary road closures, though they reopened by Friday night.
No serious injuries or deaths were reported.
All roads in Prince Edward County were closed by police later Friday night due to “zero visibility and poor road conditions.”
All roads in Prince Edward County are from #PrinceEdOPP closed due to lack of visibility and poor road conditions. @Shire_Hall only responds to emergency calls. #stayhome #StaySafe ^am pic.twitter.com/21xtWsZzjw
For updates on closures and reopenings, Check the Department of Transportation’s traffic account here.
Municipal updates, parking restrictions
The City of Ottawa has declared a rare significant weather event, warning residents that it may take longer than usual to clear roads, sidewalks and bike lanes.
The city also said garbage and recycling collection is not expected to be impacted at this time.
A winter-weather parking ban for Ottawa ended at 7 a.m. Saturday, though the city is urging people to stay off the streets as much as possible.
The City of Gatineau has also issued a winter parking ban effective Friday midnight until the notice is lifted. The city said there would be an update at 3 p.m. Saturday
The City of Ottawa said it has expanded its shelter services for people affected by homelessness in the face of the storm.
The hostel at 75 Nicholas St., Jim Durrell Arena and Dempsey Community Center are open to anyone needing to warm up over the weekend as emergency shelters.
Outreach teams will also work to ensure people have cold-weather gear and help connect them to emergency shelters if needed.
Local residents who see someone in the elements who may need housing are asked to call 311.
airplanes and trains
Hundreds of passengers were trapped on VIA Rail trains between Ottawa and Toronto Friday night and into Saturday morning after several journeys suffered significant delays. A train leaving Ottawa has officially been cancelled, but prospective passengers at the station say they cannot book alternative journeys.
VIA Rail has not given an official reason for the delay, but photos and reports from passengers point to a tree falling on one of the trains Friday night.
On Friday, VIA Rail reported significant and minor delays for trains arriving in Ottawa from Toronto.
A train traveling from Ottawa to Toronto Friday night was delayed because a switch froze.
You can check departures for Via Rail in case the storm affects travel times.
Some departures from Ottawa Airport and some arrivals have been canceled while others are delayed. So be sure to check the airport’s website before heading out the door.
As of Friday evening, most flights were listed as “on time” on December 24, but several were canceled and delayed.
Westjet canceled 140 flights at five airports in Ontario and Quebec, affecting flights at Ottawa International Airport on Friday.
All Ottawa Public Library branches are open on Saturdays.
The City of Ottawa said recreational and cultural facilities with planned programs, events or rentals will be open.
Museums and galleries closed in Ottawa on Saturday are:
- Canadian Museum of History (closed until Dec 27).
- Canadian War Museum (closed until Dec 27).
- Canadian Museum of Nature (reopening December 26).
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum (reopening December 26).
- Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (reopening December 26).
- Canada Science and Technology Museum (reopening December 26).
- National Gallery of Canada.
- Ottawa Art Gallery (reopening January 2).