It was a glancing blow from a winter storm but it still caused dozens of crashes, and ground commuter traffic to a halt in Eastern Ontario and West Quebec.  The storm track was even worse to the south, with drifting snow and whiteout conditions.  Today along highway 401 near Prescott, Ontario Provincial Police

issued warnings about blowing snow between Cornwall and Kingston, urging drivers to be careful on the highway.  In Ottawa, there were more than 140 weather related crashes today and that brought the morning commute along the Queensway to a halt in both directions.

For George Gebara, today was not quite the day he planned:  a few hours spent at the Ottawa Police Collision Centre in Orleans.

‘This is the damage here, the whole bumper is snapped,’ he says as he points to the front of his Honda.

‘I tried to stop and I couldn't and I landed in her bumper.  Very slippery.

The Ottawa area only got 4 centimetres of snow but strong winds helped polish the roads, making them super slick.  By 4:30 p.m., police were dealing with 140 accidents including Edan Ayday’s car.

‘You have to be very careful when you drive, leave a distance beteween cars and keep the phone away,’ he says.

Good advice that obviously many drivers were not heeding.  In early afternoon, Ottawa Police tweeted out a message, asking drivers to slow down.

‘People just aren't getting message,’ says Cst. J.T. Jellinek, with the Ottawa Police Traffic Division, ‘You need to slow down in conditions like this when roads are slippery. You need to take into account extra breaking time in order not to ram into the vehicle ahead of you.’

Those on foot had other issues to contend with.  Biting winds and below normal temperatures.

‘Yeah, it's brutal,’ says a woman walking along Elgin Street, ‘it's my second winter here and I’m not used to it.  It's awful.’

This cold spell isn't going to end any time soon, adding to a particularly cold January that saw temperatures well below normal, according to the Ottawa Weather records.  The average temperature in January was -13.2C.  The normal is -9.8C.

While we were hit here, much of Ontario was battered.  Toronto got about 22 centimetres, Windsor about 37.

In the United States, the winter storm marched across New England, creating hazardous driving conditions, creating problems for travellers here in Ottawa.  Several flights were delayed and some cancelled.  Pat Vachon was headed for Chattanooga until his flight was cancelled.

‘That messes with my plans,’ he says, sitting at the airport.  ‘I was going down there for training, once every 8 months so it's not very accessible training. Now I will get there halfway through.’

The storm is now heading into the Maritimes.  This happens to be Ground Hog day, by the way.  While we're all digging out, Wiarton Willie was predicting it will all soon be over with an early spring.  He's alone in that prediction though; the other weather-wise woodchucks say we're in for another six weeks of winter.By the way, don't put those snow shovels too far away -- the forecast is calling for more snow on Wednesday.