Ottawa and eastern Ontario dig out after being buried by winter storm
Ottawa and the surrounding region are digging away from a major winter storm that battered the region Thursday and Friday, bringing rain, ice pellets, snow and a flash of frost.
Tens of thousands of people lost power during the storm in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, many of whom remain in the dark on Christmas Eve.
Hydro Ottawa said there were about 270 customers left for recovery as of 9 a.m., with several small outages and backyard services remaining. Hydro One still reported about 9,000 customers in eastern Ontario without power, while Hydro Quebec said about 16,000 customers in the Outaouais region were still awaiting restoration as of 11 a.m
Ottawa’s winter weather parking ban was lifted at 7 a.m. and many city services reopened after Friday’s closure; However, the city warned of blowing snow on several roads, particularly in the green belt, and urged drivers to be careful.
The roads became treacherous as rainy conditions turned to snow and blowing snow on Friday afternoon and evening. Entire areas of the province were closed to traffic, including all roads in Prince Edward County. Sections of Highway 401 are closed due to whiteout conditions and Ontario provincial police are responding to dozens of collisions.
The storm has also caused delays on the country’s busiest rail corridor, with Via Rail passengers reporting being trapped on their Ottawa-Toronto trains overnight.
The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority says its vehicle restrictions were lifted around 11:30 a.m. due to winds that prevailed for most of the day on Friday. The Canada Border Services Agency advises a delay of approximately 30 minutes at the crossing. Other border crossings in the region are showing no significant delays as of Saturday morning.
The Wolfe Island Ferry says it will attempt a dry run on Saturday. The service has been suspended since Friday due to rough sailing conditions.
Environment Canada reported 13 cm of snow in Ottawa and 4.6 mm of rain at Ottawa Airport on Friday, as well as maximum wind gusts of up to 86 km/h. The wind reached 92 km/h in Gatineau. Wind gusts of almost 100 km/h were felt in the Kingston area on Friday, and a little over 80 km/h in Brockville. In the Ottawa Valley, 30.2mm of combined precipitation (the water equivalent of snow and rain) was recorded at Pembroke.
#LeedsOPP Highway 401 remains closed due to snow and hazardous whiteout conditions
stay home stay safe ^nc pic.twitter.com/FSahKbZIX9
– OPP East Region (@OPP_ER)
December 24, 2022
Snow will continue throughout Saturday, with another 2 to 4 cm expected in the afternoon. The temperature should remain constant at around -8 C with wind chills around -20.
Expect another 2 cm of snow flurries and blowing snow in the evening and overnight, with a temperature still around -7 °C and a wind chill of almost -17 °C.
There’s a good chance there will be a few more excitements on Christmas morning. The temperature is expected to drop to around -10C by the afternoon, with wind chills of around -16.
A short snow break is forecast on Boxing Day with overcast skies and a maximum temperature of -5°C.
Snow returns Tuesday and Wednesday.