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Spring storm to bring 15 to 20 cm of snow, rain to Ottawa

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The city of Ottawa is warning motorists that travel may be hazardous over the next 24 hours, as a spring storm brings heavy snow and rain to the capital region.

Rain is expected to transition to snow early this evening, with heavy snow continuing overnight and into Thursday.

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Ottawa-Gatineau and the Upper Ottawa Valley, calling for 10 to 20 cm of snow.

"Rain is expected to transition to snow late this afternoon or early this evening," the weather agency said in a statement.

"Heaviest snow is expected this evening and overnight. Snow will taper in intensity through the day Thursday."

Temperatures will likely hover close to the freezing mark, making the snow heavy and wet in nature. Wednesday's daytime high will be 6 C with a low of minus 1 C tonight.

As a result, local power outages are possible.

"Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow," Environment Canada said.

Total snowfall amounts could be between 10 to 20 cm with peak snowfall rates of 2 to 4 cm per hour.

It could be gusty as well – easterly winds at 40 km/h throughout the day could gust to 60 km/h

The snow is expected to taper off on Thursday, with about 5 cm of snow forecasted.

The record for greatest rainfall on April 3 in Ottawa is 18.6 mm, set back in 1990. The record for greatest snowfall on April 3 in Ottawa is 26.7 cm, set in 1975. The record for April 4 is 9.2 cm, established in 2004.

"Welcome to winter's last hurrah – hopefully," said Environment Canada's senior climatologist David Phillips on CTV Morning Live.

"This could be the heaviest snowfall of the entire winter, but we'll have to wait and see."

Phillips says despite Ottawa getting 200 cm less snow than last year, an April snowstorm is not uncommon. In 85 years of records, there have only been three years where April saw no snow.

"The models suggest this may be it," Phillips said. 

Environment Canada also issued a snowfall warning for parts of the Ottawa Valley. Renfrew, Arnprior and Calabogie could see snowfall amounts between 15 to 30 cm.

A special weather statement is in effect for Kingston and Brockville, with 10 to 30 mm of rain expected on Wednesday. Heavy snow could potentially exceed 10 cm this evening and early Thursday.

Ottawa only received 5.2 cm of snow in March.

A report from Environment Canada says the 5.2 cm of snow in March was 14 per cent of the normal snowfall Ottawa sees in the month (38.3 cm).

City of Ottawa preparing for the storm

The city of Ottawa says its crew will be out to clear any accumulation on the roads and sidewalks.

"As the precipitation moves in, we will keep a close eye on sidewalks, roads, and the winter cycling network and deploy resources as needed," Scott Caldwell, Manager of Parking Services, told council in a memo.

"Given the temperature will be very close to the freezing mark, the snow is expected to be wet and heavy. Please be patient, it will take crews time to get through the transportation network, but rest assured, they will be hard at work."

The Chief William Commanda Bridge will remain open during the storm, but it may be closed if conditions become hazardous.

Thursday's forecast

Rain mixed with snow at times heavy changing to snow at times heavy overnight. Anowfall amount 10-15 cm. Low -1 C.

Snow continuing on Thursday. Amount 5 cm. Temperature steady near 1 C.

Friday will be cloudy with a 60 per cent chance of flurries or rain showers. High will be 6 C.

The weekend calls for a mix of sun and clouds with warming temperatures.

Saturday will have a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 11 C.

Sunday will have a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 15 C.

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