It gets ugly: Blizzard predicted to cover the capital region on Monday, take days to clean up

On Sunday, city staff prepared residents for potentially several days of plowing and weather clearing from a storm that Environment Canada warned could dump up to 40 inches of snow or more.

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The city of Ottawa is on high alert for a snowstorm that, if forecasts hold true, could bury the metropolitan area Monday night with relentless snowfall beginning in the early morning hours.

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Even the city’s campaign to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at local clinics was put on hold in anticipation of the bad weather.

On Sunday, city staff prepared residents for potentially several days of plowing and weather clearing from a storm that Environment Canada warned could dump up to 40 inches of snow or more.

Snowfall could measure 50 cm in the hardest hit areas, which were not yet known as forecasters continued to track the course of the storm.

City Road Director Alain Gonthier, who will be general director of public works on Thursday, and takes over from retiree Kevin Wylie, said residents should not leave their homes unless they absolutely have to.

“Conditions will be really ugly at times,” Gonthier told reporters Sunday in a quick-witted briefing.

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The city would normally see a snowstorm like this every 10 years, Gonthier said.

Staff told councilors in a note that the last storm of this magnitude occurred in 2016.

By declaring a “significant weather event” based on Environment Canada’s forecast, the city is signaling to residents that it will not be able to meet its winter maintenance standards.

“This is very much a large-scale event,” Gonthier said.

“We are ready to respond, but residents need to understand that this is not another typical snowstorm.”

Anyone living on a residential road should not expect to see a snow plow until Monday night, as crews keep major roads and bike routes free for the day.

Maximum snowfall speeds of between two and five cm per hour can reduce visibility for people traveling on the roads, and there may be local snow drifts thanks to gusts of up to 60 km / h.

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Ottawa Public Health announced that all local vaccine clinics scheduled for Monday will be temporarily closed and are expected to reopen on Tuesday. People with appointments on Monday were contacted by health authorities.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit also announced cancellations of vaccine clinics at the Almonte Octagon Room and the Brockville Vaccine Clinic at 125 Stewart Blvd.

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In Ottawa, a ban on street parking will be in place for 24 hours from Monday at. 19.00.

Gonthier said it is rare to have such a long parking ban, but staff do not expect to get to residential streets until later Monday, and it will take a full day to move snow from the roads.

The city said clearing the streets for parked cars will allow snowplows to drive more passengers. Motorists who have monthly parking permits on the street are exempt from the ban, but the city is asking them to find off-street parking spaces so their vehicles are not snowed in.

Residents who usually have garbage collection at the curb on Mondays can wait to put their trash cans and bags out, but all customers at the curb will be affected in the coming days. The city delays the pickup by one day the rest of the week.

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The city said Line 1 and all bus routes may experience long delays and cancellations. The public was urged to monitor OC Transpo website for updates.

In addition, all Ottawa Public Library departments will be closed Monday, and all book mobile stops and home deliveries have also been canceled.

Environment Canada’s storm warning on Sunday extended to Ontario regions between Simcoe-Delhi-Norfolk and the northeast, including the Toronto area and all of eastern Ontario. The warning also covered several areas in western Quebec.

The city of Ottawa cannot predict how much it will cost to clean up after the storm. Winter maintenance budgets are set for calendar years, but a large winter fluctuation can easily obliterate the economic projections.

Gonthier said the town could clean up after the storm the rest of the week.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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