White-Christmas blizzard thumps region with snow, high winds

White-Christmas blizzard thumps region with snow, high winds

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Quinte communities declared a “significant weather event” across the region amid one of the largest winter storms to hit the region in years.

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With more than 40 centimeters of snowfall and winds up to 100 km/h after a torrential downpour on Friday, Saturday’s blizzard wreaked havoc on roads and trails in Belleville, Quinte West and Prince Edward County.

Motorists braving the storm found themselves in ditches across the region as frigid conditions rendered the roads virtually impassable in wind chills of over -20C and raging winds.

Whiteout conditions resulted in reduced visibility.

Roads across Ontario were a mess given the blizzard’s early arrival as hundreds of vehicles were involved in accidents across the province due to slippery conditions.

Belleville officials echoed Environment Canada’s warnings, urging people to stay home and avoid travel of any kind as snow piled higher and some areas experienced power outages.

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The city advised “motorists and residents to exercise extra caution as the community may not be able to meet its maintenance standards for roads, bike lanes and sidewalks due to expected significant rainfall and conditions.” The declaration does not change how and when the municipality carries out its winter service. However, it may take the community longer than usual to restore the roads.”

In Prince Edward County, lake-effect snow virtually halted traffic, with snowdrifts reported as high as the snowplows working to keep the storm at bay.

Mayor Steve Ferguson said in a weather report, “Even if you think you can get through the snow, you’re going to get stuck and only slow snow removal operations.”

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The county’s emergency response team met at 7 a.m. Saturday to review the current situation and get an update from road staff, noting that “snowplows have been working throughout the night to help emergency vehicles respond to emergency calls.” reach. Plowing remains slow due to massive snowdrifts that are taller than the plow in some areas. The district uses larger equipment to clear drifts and allow plows to pass.”

In its weather warning, issued at 5:20 a.m. Saturday, Environment Canada said it expects “damaging winds and widespread blowing snow through into the evening.” Snow gusts developing off Lake Ontario and moving into the region are possible today. Very cold wind chill readings will continue throughout the weekend.”

“Snowdrifts across the region are making travel dangerous and may cause difficulties well into the afternoon, largely due to near-zero visibility at times. Visibility is suddenly reduced to almost zero at times during heavy snowfall and blowing snow.”

Environment Canada urged people to “consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.” If you have poor visibility while driving, slow down, watch for taillights, and stop. Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and have an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medication, a first aid kit and a flashlight.”

The forecast called for snow until Sunday, when another five to 10 cm of snow was expected with temperatures hovering around -4C.

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