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Winter storm drops close to 30 cm of snow on some parts of Ottawa

The latest winter storm to hit Ottawa this week has dropped more snow on the city, just days after a 12-centimetre blast.

Environment Canada is reporting 16 cm at the Ottawa Airport as of 10 a.m. Saturday, but other parts of the city saw more snow. A total of 26 cm was reported in Orléans, and 27 cm was seen in Stittsville. The Walkley area saw 21 cm.

A total of 25 cm was reported at the Gatineau Airport.

A winter storm warning is expected to end by the afternoon Saturday.

“Snow, heavy at times, will transition to periods of light snow this afternoon. Strong easterly winds gusting up to 70 km/h will combine with this heavy snow to cause significantly reduced visibility at times,” the warning said, as of 11:30 a.m. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow. Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.”

City crews cleaning up

A daytime winter parking ban is in effect between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to allow for the extensive cleanup efforts required.

City roads manager Bryden Denyes told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “CFRA Live with Andrew Pinsent” that crews are already making progress after a busy night.

“The snow and winds have died down a little bit, but there’s still quite a bit of snow to clean up out there,” he said. “The challenge right from the start of this storm was the intensity of the snowfall mixed with the wind gusts. When we clear a road or a sidewalk, very soon after, it would be covered over. Anything that was done right at the start and we didn’t get back until we were finished that whole beat, definitely it was snow-covered again.”

Denyes says crews began moving into residential streets by midmorning. This will be an all-day process, he said.

“The cleanup from this storm will last all day today, tonight and probably into tomorrow as well,” he said.

Travel impacts

OC Transpo is warning transit customers to expect delays when taking buses or Para Transpo. The O-Train Line 1 launched on time Saturday morning and is operating normally, transit services general manager Renée Amilcar said in a memo. 

“Customers should allow plenty of time when planning their trip and use caution when boarding and exiting at bus stops or stations,” she wrote.

The Confederation Line is operating with double-car train service Saturday, Amilcar said, to help keep the line clear.

“This operational decision was made to ensure that resources are focused on clearing snow at critical rail infrastructure and to simplify overnight operations, allowing staff to complete key maintenance activities.”

Since the 28-day shutdown last summer, the LRT has been largely operating on single-car service. Weekday double-car trains were brought back into regular use last Monday, but weekends are still normally expected to use single-car trains.

There were some delays and cancellations listed at the Ottawa Airport Saturday morning, but spokesperson Krista Kealey said operations are mostly running smoothly.

“We had some Toronto cancellations last evening and some pre-emptive cancellations this morning,” she wrote. “We received 10 diverted flights destined for Toronto Pearson last night, including several wide-body aircraft. Four of the 10 eventually departed for YYZ, and six were provided with gates and deplaned. The flights will depart throughout the day today.”

Travellers are encouraged to check their flights before heading to the airport and to expect some delays. 

“We have some cancellations and delays showing for the balance of the day, as is expected when a major snow event impacts the schedule – it takes time for the system to get back to normal,” Kealey said. “Our snow removal crews have done a fantastic job keeping the roadways and airside surfaces clear and safe, and our operational teams inside the terminal did a great job managing the diversions last night.”

Ottawa forecast

The forecast for Ottawa calls for periods of snow through the day, another 5 cm is possible, with a high of 0 C. A few flurries, which could add another 2 cm of snow to the total for the day, are expected Saturday evening. Overnight, the low is -6 C.

Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “CFRA Live with Andrew Pinsent” that the heaviest snow ended by Saturday morning.

“Snow is going to diminish but the winds are going to pickup again from the southwest later today — maybe around 3 o’clock or so — and that’s going to blow it around,” he said.

Kimbell said to expect between 5 and 8 cm of snow through the rest of the day Saturday.

Sunday’s forecast is steady around -6 C with a few flurries.

A bit of sunshine could peek out on Monday with a high of -8 C and a small chance of scattered flurries.

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Katelyn Wilson, Jackie Perez and Matt Skube.

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