Ottawa's first winter blast is expected to arrive Thursday night as the temperature will plummet below zero when an Arctic front moves through eastern Ontario.

Environment Canada has issued a Winter Weather Travel Advisory for the Ottawa area.

It says rain showers will quickly change to flurries and wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour could play havoc with road and highway conditions.

The City of Ottawa is now prepping its winter crews to tackle road conditions with salt and brine.

An update from city officials is expected Thursday afternoon.

The weather advisory has motorists scrambling to install winter tires.

Many auto and tire shops say they're booked full until late November.

And the forecast has prompted families to retrieve winter jackets, hats and mitts.

Retail stores expect a rush on winter items now that the forecast calls for frigid temperatures Friday and into Saturday.