Severe winter storm on the way
Published Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:20AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:19PM EST
The National Capital Region is bracing for the first real winter wallop of the season.
Freezing rain began late Thursday evening, ahead of a severe snowstorm expected to hit Ottawa by Friday morning.
Up to 30 centimetres of snow is expected, according to Environment Canada.
Some winter enthusiasts can't wait to enjoy the fresh powder.
"Got the snow tires on, we're ready for it, snowmobiling and snowboarding so looking forward to having some good powder for the weekend," said Kyle Schinkel.
"It's what we get in the winter, it's what we look forward to. We're Canadians, bring it on," said Anneke Winegarden.
"I'm a big cross country skier so I'm very excited, especially for Gatineau Park," said Mark Patterson. "We need a good layer of snow to start skiing so very excited."
Ottawa city crews are preparing to deal with the storm and have 400 pieces of equipment ready to go.
"Everybody who can be out there, every piece of equipment will be out on the roads once this hits full time if we get what they're expecting," said Ottawa Councillor Marianne Wilkinson.
Holiday travel during the storm
The Ottawa Airport is expected to have its busiest day of the year in the middle of this massive snowstorm.
Krista Kealey, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the Ottawa International Airport Authority, told CTV Ottawa they expect 8,000 people to fly into the Capital and another 8,000 to fly out as Christmas travel begins.
She says they will start de-icing planes early in the morning but people should expect delays.
“My favorite expression of the holidays is ‘pack your patience’,” Kealey said. "Our crews will be working through the night to get ahead of that storm, to keep runways clear"
Westjet and Air Canada have announced that they will waive re-booking fees to customers who want to change their bookings, as long as there is room on different flights.
Residents who have to be out on the roads Friday are urged to slow down and give themselves extra time to get to their destination.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr and Katie Griffin