War It’s going to get nasty: Snowstorm predicted to blanket capital region Monday, take days to clean up

War It’s going to get nasty: Snowstorm predicted to blanket capital region Monday, take days to clean up

War

On Sunday, city staff were preparing residents for potentially multiple days of plowing and road cleanup from a storm that Environment Canada warned could dump up to 40 cm of snow, or more.

war Due to the expected severity of the snowstorm, anyone living on a residential street shouldn't expect to see a snowplow until Monday evening, the city said.
Due to the expected severity of the snowstorm, anyone living on a residential street shouldn’t expect to see a snowplow until Monday evening, the city said. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

The City of Ottawa is on high alert for a snowstorm that, if forecasts hold true, could bury the capital region by Monday night with unrelenting snowfall beginning in the early morning hours.

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Even the city’s campaign to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at community clinics was put on pause in anticipation of the wicked weather.

On Sunday, city staff were preparing residents for potentially multiple days of plowing and road cleanup from a storm that Environment Canada warned could dump up to 40 cm of snow, or more.

Snowfall could measure 50 cm in the hardest-hit areas, which weren’t known yet as forecasters continued to track the storm’s trajectory.

City roads director Alain Gonthier, who will become general manager of public works on Thursday, taking over for the retiring Kevin Wylie, said residents shouldn’t leave their homes unless they absolutely have to.

“The conditions will be really nasty at times,” Gonthier told reporters Sunday in a quickly called briefing.

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The city would normally see a snowstorm like this every 10 years, Gonthier said.

Staff told councillors in a memo that the last storm of this magnitude happened in 2016.

In declaring a “significant weather event” based on Environment Canada’s forecast, the city is signalling to residents that it won’t be able to meet its winter maintenance standards.

“This is very much a large-scale event,” Gonthier said.

“We are ready to respond, but residents need to understand that this isn’t another typical snowstorm.”

Anyone living on a residential street shouldn’t expect to see a snowplow until Monday evening as crews keep major roads and cycling routes clear for the day.

Peak snowfall rates between two and five cm per hour could reduce visibility for people travelling on the roads and there could be local blowing snow thanks to wind gusts up to 60 km/h.

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Ottawa Public Health announced all community vaccine clinics scheduled for Monday will be temporarily closed and expected to reopen Tuesday. People with appointments on Monday were being contacted by health officials.

The health unit for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark also announced vaccine clinic cancellations at the Almonte Octagon Room and the Brockville vaccine clinic at 125 Stewart Blvd.

Due to poor weather conditions expected, the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics planned for Mon.Jan. 17 at the Almonte Octagon Room & Brockville Vaccine Clinic (125 Stewart Blvd) have been cancelled. Reschedule here: https://t.co/sBTlbxNjfI or call: 1-844-369-1234 or a local pharmacy.

— LGL Health Unit (@LGLHealthUnit) January 16, 2022

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In Ottawa, an on-street parking ban will be in place for 24 hours starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Gonthier said it’s rare to have such a long parking ban, but staff don’t anticipate getting to residential streets until later Monday and it will take a full day to move snow off the roads.

The city said clearing the streets of parked cars will let snowplows make multiple passes. Motorists who have monthly on-street parking permits are exempted from the ban, but the city is asking them to find off-street parking spots so their vehicles aren’t snowed in.

Residents who usually have curbside garbage collection on Monday can hold off on putting out their bins and bags, but all curbside customers will be impacted in the coming days. The city is delaying pickup by one day for the rest of the week.

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The city said Line 1 and all bus routes might experience long delays and cancellations. The public was encouraged to monitor the OC Transpo website for updates.

In addition, all Ottawa Public Library branches will be closed Monday and all bookmobile stops and home delivers have also been cancelled.

Environment Canada’s storm warning on Sunday extended to Ontario regions between Simcoe-Delhi-Norfolk and the northeast, including the Toronto area and all of eastern Ontario. The warning also covered several areas of western Quebec.

The City of Ottawa can’t predict how much it will cost to clean up after the storm. Winter maintenance budgets are set for calendar years, but one big winter wallop can easily wipe out the financial projections.

Gonthier said the city could be cleaning up from the storm for the rest of the week.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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