‘Ottawa’ Ottawa’s Snowiest day of the Winter: 24 cm and Counting
The capital region has experienced its snowiest day of the season.
About 24 cm had fallen on the city by about 8 p.m. Sunday, and there was no sign of its stopping. Environment Canada had forecast about 25 cm would fall by Monday morning, but as the snow continued to fall through the evening it seemed certain that prediction would be exceeded.
The region had already surpassed its total snowfall for last winter, Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Rodgers said earlier in the evening.
“Last winter, total snowfall from November to April was 203.3 cm, and so far this winter as of (Sunday evening) it is 220.5.”
But that number was still only about halfway to the record 444.6 cm the region was buried under in the winter of 1970-71, Rodgers said.
And Ottawa received a record one-day snowfall last year of 51.2 cm on Feb. 16.
Other big snow days this season have included Jan. 31 (15.6 cm), Dec. 12 (15.4) and Jan. 10 (9.2), Rodgers said.
He said “it’s not unusual at all” to see snowstorms such as Sunday’s three or four times a year.
“It’s a low-pressure area, like you would typically see in the winter,” he said. “The system originated from Colorado, tracking south of the lower (Great) Lakes, and the moisture is coming up from the Gulf of Mexico … we are looking at 20 to 25 cm of snow when this is all said and done.”
Rodgers said the visibility at the Ottawa airport around noon was as low as 400 metres, but had increased to 800 metres by 5 p.m.
Flurries were forecast to continue Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs of -3 C, -5 and 1, respectively.
The city issued an overnight parking ban across Ottawa between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Vehicles parked on the street during an overnight ban may be ticketed and towed, but on-street parking permit holders are exempt.
The wintry conditions made travel difficult and dangerous, with transit delays, flight cancellations and snow-covered roads. Ontario Provincial Police confirmed there had been several accidents along highways 401 and 417.
Ottawa towing company Gervais Towing and Recovery said its phones were ringing all day Sunday.
“We’ve been busy with lots of people getting stuck in the ditches, a lot of people slipping off the road,” said dispatcher Matt Regibald.
Ottawa police, provincial police and Environment Canada all warned drivers to adjust to changing road conditions.
“Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow,” Environment Canada said in its snowfall warning.
“If visibility is reduced while driving, turn on your lights and maintain a safe following distance.”
Public Safety Canada encouraged the public to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first aid kit and a flashlight.
The weather outlook was expected to throw a bit of a damper on Winterlude and would likely spell some trouble for Monday morning commuters, though main thoroughfares would likely be in good shape with the snow expected to taper off overnight.
Temperatures remained average for this time of year in Ottawa with a Sunday high of -7.
During winter overnight parking bans, residents have free access to covered city-owned parking garages. For more information about which city garages are free during winter overnight parking bans, visit ottawa.ca.