Record snowfall as Ottawa sees close to 50 cm during major blizzard
A record-breaking snowstorm brought Ottawa to a standstill Monday, closing schools, vaccination clinics and COVID-19 testing sites, cancelling garbage and recycling collection and disrupting air and vehicle travel.
The Ottawa Airport had officially seen 47 cm as of 5 p.m., according to Environment Canada, eclipsing the record snowfall for Jan. 17 of 11.7 cm, set in 1972. Twelve centimetres fell in a single hour between 8 and 9 a.m.
"We haven't seen anything (like this) this year. In the worst-case scenario, we could probably get as much snow today as you've had all winter so far," said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips on CTV Morning Live.
Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning for Ottawa, after earlier issuing a winter storm warning. The weather agency called for 25 to 40 cm of snow, with some areas seeing up to 50 cm of snow.
The blizzard warning was changed back to a winter storm warning at around 1:30 p.m. Monday, when accumulation began to slow down.
The winter storm warning ended just after 7 p.m.
"Snow still possibly heavy at times," the warning said. "Local blowing snow due to wind gusts of up to 60 km/h which will significantly reduce visibilities."
The city has warned snowplows won't begin clearing residential streets until at least 7 p.m. Monday, and it could take two days to clear all residential streets. Ottawa mayor Jim Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA that the cleanup could cost up to $5 million.
"Every street can't be plowed first," Mayor Jim Watson told CTV Morning Live on Monday. "People will tweet me all day saying my street isn't plowed. Unfortunately, we have to prioritize."
Ottawa police told Newstalk 580 CFRA that they had responded to 24 collisions between 5 and 11 a.m., including one involving two OC Transpo buses.
Over the last ten days, the Ottawa region has been faced with extreme cold and now extreme amounts of snow. During this period, C.A.A. North & East president and CEO Jeff Walker says operators have been flooded with more than 10,000 calls.
“At 8:30 a.m., there was 300 calls in the queue so it’s busy and we’re doing about 120 calls per hour,” said Walker, adding that on Hwy 416, between Ottawa and Kemptville, there were more than 60 cars in the ditch.
Responding to every situation can take time he said.
“What we do on a day like today is triage so those people in the ditch we got to get to them first it’s cold out there it’s dangerous out there so we get to them first and then we get to people in their homes and driveways.”
C.A.A recommends a roadside safety kit with essentials that includes booster cables, gloves, a reflector and flashlight. It’s also important to have a small shovel and blanket to keep warm if your vehicle stalls or becomes stuck on gehe road.
The OPP closed a stretch of Highway 7 between because of poor visibility and road conditions. Several vehicles had ended up in the ditch, police said on Twitter.
At least two fatal crashes were reported in eastern Ontario.
The city of Ottawa has issued a 24-hour parking ban, from 7 p.m. Monday to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics are closed, and the city has cancelled garbage, recycling and green bin recycling collection for the day. COVID-19 testing sites closed down early due to the storm.
"It's a quick hitter," Phillips said, noting the snow will be heavy in the morning and end by 9 p.m. "Later tonight, it will be a memory and we'll just be cleaning it over the next day or two."
Phillips says the last significant snowfall in Ottawa was in 2016, when 50 cm of snow fell.
The Environment Canada senior climatologist says the reason for the 20 to 40 cm of snow forecasted is because "any kind of wiggle or wobble" with the system will create different conditions.
"Maybe it will come a little further west and we'll see the 40 (cm), so that's why there's a huge range," said Phillips. "It has its own personality and character, and as it comes through our area it's not going to follow, necessarily, a straight line."
Ottawa had only received 5 cm of snow in January, after 38.6 cm of snow in December.
As of 1:45 p.m., 26 departures had been cancelled at the Ottawa International Airport.
Several flights were also delayed.
The Ottawa International Airport and Air Canada have advised travellers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
Environment Canada says snow should end Monday night, but a chance of flurries will linger into the evening and overnight, with a low of minus 16 C and a wind chill of minus 20.
The sky should clear in the morning, leading to a sunny Tuesday. High minus 14 C with a wind chill near minus 24.
More snow is in the forecast Tuesday night and through the day Wednesday. High minus 2 C.
Thursday's outlook is sunny with a high of minus 18 C.
--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Matt Skube, Stefan Keyes and Tyler Fleming, and Newstalk 580 CFRA's Kristy Cameron.
Ottawa Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hoping to console a city stricken by grief and anger when they meet with families affected by the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 students and two teachers.
The decision by police to wait before confronting the gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was a failure with catastrophic consequences, experts say. When it was all over 19 students and two teachers were dead.
Justice Minister David Lametti is defending the federal government's authority to challenge provincial laws that they believe infringe on the rights of Canadians, after Quebec said Ottawa's reaction to Bills 21 and 96 lacked 'respect.'
A small airplane with 22 people on board flying on a popular tourist route was missing in Nepal's mountains on Sunday, an official said.
A Dene filmmaker based in Vancouver says he was "disappointed" and "close to tears" when security at the Cannes Film Festival blocked him from walking the red carpet while dressed in a pair of moccasins.
Around a hundred people gathered at noon Saturday at the empty Vancouver home where Chelsea Poorman’s remains were found late last month to show their support for her family's call for answers and justice.
Canada and Finland won semifinal games Saturday to set up a third straight gold-medal showdown between the teams at the IIHF world hockey championship.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters forced to endure lengthy waits to get into the Champions League final amid logistical chaos and an attempt by UEFA and French authorities to blame overcrowding at turnstiles on people trying to access the stadium with fake tickets on Saturday.
The devastating storm in southern Ontario and Quebec last weekend damaged thousands of hydro poles across the two provinces. CTVNews.ca gives a rundown of where utility companies get their hydro poles from, as well as the climate challenges in the grid infrastructure.
Rough road to recovery for N.B. duty-free shop – still holding out hope border traffic will increase
A N.B. duty-free shop owner at the U.S.-Canada border says high fuel costs and lingering requirements at the border are hurting business.
Two special prosecutors tasked with taking on Nova Scotia's human trafficking cases are sharing some insight into what's currently happening in the province's courts.
Vinyl lovers packed a community centre in Riverview, N.B., Saturday in search of a hidden gem or the missing piece to their collection at the bi-annual Moncton Record Expo.
Toronto police are announcing the arrest of three men in a more than six-month human trafficking investigation that involved an 18-year-old girl.
Police say a coyote bit a child in a west end Toronto park on Saturday afternoon.
A person is dead after a fire erupted in an apartment in the city’s east end Saturday morning.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says three flights -- the second of which is due to touch down in Montreal on Sunday -- will bring approximately 900 Ukrainians approved for emergency travel into Canada.
A 37-year-old motorcyclist died after losing control of his vehicle Sunday in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough.
Quebec announced special financial assistance to cover food losses suffered by those using social assistance programs following power outages.
A small but passionate group gathered Saturday to protest the Ford government and autism therapy wait times outside PC MPP candidate Vic Fedeli's campaign office on McKeown Avenue.
The Sudbury Defeat Depression Walk/Run returned to Bell Park on Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and normal events resume.
A long line of cars wrapped around the Humane Society's parking lot in North Bay Saturday morning as dozens of cats and dogs got microchipped.
St. Aidan’s Anglican Church unveiled a new art installation Saturday, in anticipation for pride month
As the provincial election campaign winds down the bid to secure critical votes heats up, with two party leaders, Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath, making a stop in London on Sunday.
The Glen Cairn community and Glen Cairn School collected over 1300 boxes of mac and cheese to create a domino line that would then be donated to the London Food Bank
A building located on Mayfair Avenue is being declared a complete loss after a fire broke out Saturday morning.
In Manitoba, the average home price in April 2022 was around $372,000, which is up from April 2021, when the average price was around $328,000, according to Manitoba Real Estate Association.
It’s been nearly four months since the historic Kirkwood Block caught fire and was left in ruins, but it is now starting to be taken down.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club held a rumpus New Orleans-style wake on Saturday, in remembrance of its long-time director Nancy Pauli. Pauli passed away in February at the age of 81.
No driver's license was needed for a group of high-schoolers driving their own electric vehicles through the University of Waterloo campus on Saturday.
From crayons to corks, car seats, bicycles and batteries, the second semi-annual Re: Purpose Fest took place in Guelph Saturday afternoon.
A spark on special teams gave the Calgary Stampeders the momentum they needed to beat the B.C. Lions 41-6 on Saturday.
Back on the track: Calgary high school athletes compete in city championships for first time since pandemic
More than 600 athletes from 29 schools competed Saturday in the first Calgary high school city championship competition since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
A group of volunteers spent their Saturday morning outfitting a Calgary home with new appliances, furniture and food for a family in need.
A major fire ripped through a three-story Saskatoon apartment building in the 300 block of 108th Street W overnight on Friday.
The Prince Albert Police Service is investigating a homicide after a man was shot in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders along with other football teams in the province have declared a weekend in September as “Football Weekend” in the province.
An emotional rally outside City Hall Saturday afternoon called for more permanent solutions to help keep Edmonton's Chinatown a vibrant community.
A slo pitch league in St. Albert is helping seniors stay active and have fun on the field.
A street in north Edmonton will bear the name of a Ukrainian dance company to honour their more than 50 years worth of contributions to the local arts and culture scene.
A wave of resignations among Northern B.C. health-care workers – including half the doctors in the intensive care unit of the region’s biggest hospitals – is raising alarms among civic leaders already calling for an audit.
Volunteers in Vancouver are stepping their efforts as the city continues to see a rise in property crimes.
High school students from the Prairie Valley School Division gathered in Lumsden to build and support the LGBTQ2S+ community with the third annual Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Student Summit.
Environment Canada released a rainfall warning Saturday afternoon predicting 30-50mm of rainfall for the southeast corner of the province.