Winter 2021-2022

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – As long as we have a plan

Here is what the City is doing to manage winter maintenance this year.

Below you will find useful information on snow removal, parking bans (and what they mean) and what to do if there are snow concerns on your street. 

As always, I am here to help so please do not hesitate to reach out to me by calling, 613-580-2482 or emailing me at Mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca

December 11th

Further to my last update on Friday morning, we are experiencing the weather as forecasted making for very messy conditions. Environment Canada has issued three weather alerts for the City of Ottawa related to freezing rain, rain and high winds.

The freezing rain started around 4 am this morning and will change to rain around 9 am. Temperatures will get milder later this morning leaving a mix of icy and very wet conditions, especially on some of the sidewalks and local streets. 

We encourage residents to limit their travels this morning to the extent possible.

Our Response

Our Roads and Parking team cleared sidewalks and cleared catch basins yesterday in advance of today’s messy conditions. Our team is out again today focusing on treating sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network. Throughout the day, staff will continue to focus on addressing problem areas, especially related to water accumulation caused by the rain and warmer temperatures.

How Can Residents Help?

As expected, we are experiencing a lot of rain and warm conditions.  This will lead to pooling water and drainage issues.  Any residents who can are asked to clear their local catch basin to allow as much water as possible to drain from the roadway.  Catch basin maps are available at Ottawa.ca/winter.

We are also expecting significant winds later today.  Residents are encouraged to ensure any small objects and holiday decorations are secured so they are not carried onto the roadway by the heavy winds.

December 10th

light flurries are expected to continue this morning.  Temperatures will rise throughout the day.  

Residents are reminded to drive to the conditions of the road during this morning’s commute.

Overnight, conditions are expected to change.  Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement as conditions turn to freezing rain, then heavy rain, and then strong winds.  Freezing rain is expected to begin this evening, before turning to rain overnight.  Rain, heavy at times, will fall Saturday morning.  We expect to see at least 10 – 15 mm of rain and potentially more with record-setting warm temperatures by afternoon leading to localized water accumulation.  Through the day, windy conditions, including gusts of more than 70 km/h, are expected.  The wind and dropping temperatures will cool pavement causing slippery conditions Saturday night.  

Our Response

Our Roads and Parking team is responding to current conditions, clearing and treating our main sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network.  Throughout the day, staff will continue the snow clean-up and work to open catch basins in anticipation of tomorrow’s wet weather.

Overnight, staff will be on-call and ready to respond to any freezing rain conditions.  Overnight and tomorrow, our teams will be out to address any drainage concerns.

How Can Residents Help?

We are expecting a lot of rain and warm conditions.  This will cause any snow to melt, and the falling rain could lead to pooling water and drainage issues.  Any residents who can are asked to clear their local catch basin to allow as much water as possible to drain from the roadway.  Catch basin maps are available at Ottawa.ca/winter.

We are also expecting significant winds tomorrow.  Residents are encouraged to ensure any small objects and holiday decorations are secured so they are not carried onto the roadway by the heavy winds.

December 9th

Overnight, around 3 cm of snow fell across the City.  Our Roads and Parking Services team responded and spent the night clearing and treating our sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network.  Residents can expect to see a fairly smooth commute to work, although there are some remaining slippery areas that are being addressed.  

Our Response

Throughout the day, pavement temperatures will rise, helping to melt snow and to make the salt we applied overnight more effective in managing the ice.  

Today, our team’s priority will be to address the current weather conditions, and to continue treating the ice and build-up that remains as a result of the challenging mixed weather event we experienced earlier this week.

Our Supervisors are constantly monitoring the conditions and sending teams to respond to any identified trouble spots.

Our Current Conditions

We remain in the final stages of clean-up after a series of weather events – both complex and minor. Monday’s winter event was complex due to the combination of conditions we saw.  Monday’s event brought significant snow accumulations (15 cm), freezing rain, rain (10 mm) and then freezing conditions within a short period of time. At all times all available resources were deployed to maintain our sidewalks, roads and cycling network. As we have implemented two years ago, we continue to provide 24-hour coverage on sidewalks.

The rain on Monday forced us to change how we allocated resources to address bus stops, intersections and clearing catch basins. In several locations, the deep and wet snow required us to switch sidewalk units from blades to blowers.  The sidewalk units using blowers move at a fraction of the speed and don’t scrape sidewalks as well as blades – requiring multiple passes. Even for sidewalks with blades, the weight of the snow meant that sidewalks units moved at a slower pace.  As a result, it has taken longer to get through all of our sidewalk beats. 

The lighter snow we saw yesterday posed additional challenges as it was enough to require us to move again from clean-up back to responding to current conditions.  Furthermore, the snow on top of the ice again created slippery conditions.

Ice is the enemy. The rain and dropping temperatures have made it challenging for our team to stay ahead of this event. This weekend’s milder temperatures will allow us to continue to improve the condition of our sidewalks and that will remain our priority.

How can residents help?

We encourage residents to continue to clear catch basins near their homes as this will help with the upcoming milder temperatures. On the weekend, temperatures will rise significantly, before dropping below zero again.  This will create a freeze / thaw cycle that can lead to icy conditions.  When catch basins are clear, water can drain from the road more easily.

We also ask that they keep vehicles away from sidewalks to allow our operators the ability to properly clear the sidewalks. 

We understand the concerns that have been raised and we appreciate the support of the community. Keeping sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network safe is our priority.   

December 7th

Overnight, our Roads and Parking Services team was out clearing and treating sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network. The rain yesterday afternoon and the drop in temperature overnight has made for challenging conditions in keeping sidewalks and roads cleared. 

All of our residential areas saw plows in their neighbourhoods clearing snow.  Today, work will continue as staff apply salt or abrasives to problem areas and to tidy up around corners and intersections.

All sidewalks have been plowed and staff are out again today applying salt, sand or grit to ensure safe conditions.  Residents are reminded to exercise caution while on sidewalks as water that was on the sidewalk overnight may have frozen creating icy conditions.  Throughout the day, residents will see teams out clearing around bus stops, intersections, push buttons and crosswalks. Sidewalks will continue to be our priority today.

Thank you!

Yesterday and last evening our team dealt with a number of drainage and water pooling issues.  We appreciate the support of all residents who were out clearing their local catch basin and helping us to get as much water as possible off the road. We also appreciate residents that adhered to the parking ban as it made it easier for our teams to clear residential areas.

It has been a busy few days as we dealt with challenging conditions.  Thank you for your patience.

December 6th

Mother Nature has not been holding back. Overnight we saw over 15 cm of snow in some parts of the City.  Heavy snow began just after dinner and continued through the evening. Around 3 am, the freezing rain began and is expected to continue until approximately 9 am.  We could then see up to 15 mm of regular rain throughout the day before it changes back to flurries this evening.

Throughout the day, temperatures will rise.  This could lead to water pooling and drainage issues in some areas.  Temperatures will then drop well below zero this evening.  The dropping temperatures, along with gusting winds in excess of 50 km/h, could lead to slippery conditions overnight.

Our Response

Our teams have been out since the start of the storm plowing and treating our main sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network.  Work on those areas will continue this morning.  Our shifts have just changed and our day shift will be focused on finishing up on our main and secondary roads before turning their attention to residential areas.  

The snow that our staff are working to clear is heavy and wet.  This means that our vehicles may be travelling slowly to push and move the snow out of the way. Our sidewalk machines will need to work twice as hard to clear sidewalks.  Residents should expect that completing the clean-up following this storm could take longer than normal due to the wet combination of conditions.

A winter weather parking ban is in effect today from 10 am – 7 pm.  Resident compliance with this ban today is critical as we work to clear the roads and open catch basins to allow water to drain before tonight’s freeze cycle.  When cars are off the road, we can clear snow and ice curb-to-curb, which means less build up and fewer drainage issues.

As our teams are working, residents may see some windrows on residential streets and blocking some corners, cross walks and push-button access.  Throughout the day and overnight our teams will continue addressing those issues.  

Keeping Residents Safe

Our team will be out in full force today, working to keep Ottawa’s sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network safe.  Conditions are messy and changing, and those who are out should drive to the conditions of the road.  

Please, give our vehicles lots of space to operate as they are both clearing and treating the roads, and they may be making more than one pass of an area to move the weight of the wet snow off the road.

Finally, anyone who is able to is asked to please clear your local catch basin to allow as much water as possible to drain from the road.  This will help prevent an icy build-up when the temperatures drop.

December 5th – Afternoon

As a beautiful day turned into afternoon, our forecasts changed and we are now anticipating 10-15 cm of snow, in addition to the freezing rain noted this morning. Our teams will be called in later this evening to respond to the weather – clearing and treating our main roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network before moving onto secondary roads.

A Winter Weather Parking Ban is Being Called

Given the increased accumulation we are now anticipating, we will be calling a winter weather parking ban for tomorrow, Monday December 6, from 10 am – 7 pm.  During this time, all vehicles must be removed from the roadway or risk being ticketed and / or towed.  Those with parking permits are exempt.  Parking is available for residents at select Park ‘n Ride Locations and community centres during the day – with details available at Ottawa.ca/winter.

Residents may also park in designated commercial areas where parking is permitted during a parking ban as long as all posted signage and fees are observed.  

Resident Support

Even before the winter weather parking ban goes into place, we are asking all those who can to remove their vehicle from the roadway as in some residential areas we will start as soon as the priority networks are completed.  When the road is clear, our vehicles can clear the road more efficiently and effectively.  

We would also ask those who have their waste collection day tomorrow please place their bins in their driveway and not on the sidewalk, snowbanks or roadway.  When bins are improperly placed, they can impede our snow clearing and waste collection operations.

December 5th – Morning

Our Response to Today’s Weather

Our Roads and Parking team is ready to respond!

Our Supervisors are monitoring road conditions and weather forecasts in anticipation of deploying for the incoming weather.  As snow begins to fall, sidewalks, main roads and the winter cycling network will be cleared and treated.  

We may bring in additional resources to clear and treat sidewalks and residential areas.  Supervisors will be making that decision later today as there are some benefits to leaving snow on the ground to absorb any freezing rain.  Snow on the ground can be a benefit in a freezing rain event as it will soak up the freezing rain, preventing it from sticking to roads and sidewalks – and preventing more severe icy conditions.  When the rain ends, the wet snow can be cleared and the pavement below should not be as icy.  

Winter Weather Parking Ban

Depending on how the forecast evolves through the day, we will be assessing the need for a daytime parking ban tomorrow. While temperatures will be relatively mild tomorrow, they are expected to drop again later in the day which could impact the condition of our residential streets. If a daytime parking ban is required on Monday, we will communicate that decision by 3:30 pm this afternoon.  Residents can use the following tools to know if a winter weather parking ban is in place: 

Resident Support During This Event

Conditions overnight and tomorrow will be messy.  Those residents who do not need to be out are encouraged to stay home. For those who are out, please be cautious and drive to the conditions of the road.  

Please, give our vehicles space to work.  The safest place to be during a winter weather event, especially when there is freezing rain, is three car lengths behind a working vehicle.  Flashing blue and yellow lights mean we are on the job to keep you safe.

As we transition from winter conditions to rain, and temperatures rise, there will be a lot of water on our roads.  If you can, please clear your local catch basin to allow water to drain off the road.  This will prevent further icy conditions as temperatures drop again Monday evening.  

To stay up-to-date on our winter operations throughout the event, please visit Ottawa.ca/winter.

December 3rd

This weekend’s weather is looking slightly unpredictable with snow expected tomorrow (Saturday), and both snow and freezing rain possible Sunday into Monday.  Over the weekend, pavement temperatures will be below zero, meaning any accumulation of snow is likely to stick.  As temperatures rise well above freezing on Monday, we expect any snow to melt.

Our Response

Today, our teams have been working to prepare our trucks to respond to any weather that will arrive.  Our Supervisors will be out monitoring road conditions and will send out teams to clear and treat the roads as conditions require it. Residents can expect to see our vehicles out applying salt, sand or grit to melt ice and provide traction, or plowing to clear snow. As always, clearing and treating the main roads, sidewalks and winter cycling network will be our priority before we move onto secondary roads.  

At this time, we are not anticipating the need for a winter weather parking ban.  Should conditions change, we will provide an update.  

Resident Support

To support our winter operations, we would appreciate that anyone who is able to, removes their vehicle from the road to allow our vehicles to clear and treat the roads more efficiently.  This weekend is also a great time to remove any remaining basketball nets from the roadways.

As our teams are deployed, we ask that all residents give vehicles space to do their work; three car lengths behind a working snow machine is the safest place to be on the road and allow space at intersections.

We encourage all residents to stay in the know about snow by visiting our winter operations page at Ottawa.ca/winter and to sign up for winter weather parking ban e-alerts.

Thank you for your support of our winter operations.

Alain

PS We are excited to be supporting this year’s Help Santa Parade of Lights.  Look for our team to be out keeping roads safe and spreading some holiday cheer. 

November 30th

Our forecasts suggest that we could see up to 2 cm of snow with a risk of freezing rain overnight.  Due to cool pavement temperatures, snow and ice may not melt on contact and residents may experience a slower than normal commute tomorrow morning.

Our Response

The Roads and Parking Team is ready to respond to any weather that comes our way.  Throughout the evening, our Supervisors will be monitoring conditions and deploying staff to treat roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network as needed.  Different areas of the City may experience different conditions, and staff will be responding with the appropriate treatment based on the observed local weather.

We would ask that as weather changes, residents drive to the conditions of the road.  Please also give our vehicles space to work; they are on the road to keep you safe, and the best place to be during a winter event is three car lengths behind a working vehicle.

Large Equipment on the Road

As we prepare for winter’s full arrival, we are continuing with staff training and education.  Residents may see vehicles on the roads and sidewalks over the coming days, even without a winter event, as our staff work to perfect their skills on the road.  Residents may see our trucks with blades lifting and lowering, or salt spinners spinning without distributing salt.  This is all a part of the professional training our team undergoes to ensure your safety all winter.  Please, give our vehicles space.

November 26th

We are anticipating mixed weather conditions today.  We expect a combination of rain, snow and dropping temperatures.  Warm temperatures this morning means we will see rain.  As temperatures drop, we will see the rain turn to snow, and then could see up to 4 cm of snow throughout the afternoon.  Because road temperatures will be above zero most of the day, the total accumulation is expected to be less.  This evening, temperatures are expected to drop.

Due to the lack of accumulation, no parking ban is being called for this event.

Our Roads and Parking Services Response

Overnight, our team was out monitoring conditions and preparing vehicles for today’s response.  As conditions change, our team will be deployed to treat and clear roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.   

Residents should expect a slower than usual afternoon commute as people adjust to the first winter weather.  

We ask all those out today to drive to the conditions of the road.  We also ask all residents to please stay three car lengths behind our working vehicles as they are large and require space to keep our communities safe.  

This evening and through the weekend, we will continue to monitor the road conditions and respond as required to manage any trouble spots.

We appreciate the support of residents as they adjust to the start of an Ottawa winter.

November 16th

Environment Canada has issued a Special Weather Statement for the City of Ottawa for tomorrow.  Residents can expect to see brief band of snow and ice pellets Wednesday morning, before moving to rain or freezing rain through the late morning or afternoon. At this time, the accumulation is not known, but we do know that conditions could lead to a messy commute for residents.

The Roads and Parking Services Response

Our team is ready to respond.  Overnight, supervisors will be monitoring conditions and will deploy staff to respond as needed.  Residents can expect to see our snow plows and sidewalk machines out treating the roads to prevent an icy accumulation that could make roads slippery.  Salt may be applied to prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the road or sidewalk.  Sand or grit may be applied to provide additional traction.  

How can Residents Support Our Winter Operations?

In anticipation of the winter weather, residents who are able to do so, are asked to clear their local catch basin of any leaves or debris. This will help any rain or wet snow to drain from the road, preventing watery build-ups which can freeze as temperatures drop.  To find your local catch basin, please visit Ottawa.ca/winter.

Residents who are required to be out on the roads tomorrow are asked to give our vehicles space to do their work. The vehicles are large and will be spreading material on the roads.  The safest place to be is at least three car lengths behind a working snow vehicle.  

Winter is here and your Roads and Parking Services team will be out doing their keep our roads, sidewalks and winter cycling network safe.

November 12th

Mother Nature has been kind so far this season, but it appears we could see our first snowflakes this weekend.  Forecasts suggest Ottawa could see rain turning to snow Sunday through Monday.  We are not expecting a significant snowfall or accumulation.  Road temperatures are warm enough to melt the snow on contact.  Our Roads and Parking Services team will be ready to respond to changing conditions.   

What to Expect from our Roads and Parking Team

Our team is currently transitioning from summer activities like sidewalk repairs, ironworks, rural ditching and mowing to our winter operations of snow clearing and removal. Our Roads and Parking Services team completes the transition to winter operations over a two-week period in early November – to ensure staff are prepared for early winter weather events.    

This weekend, staff will be ready to respond to any weather event.  Supervisors will be out over the weekend monitoring roads and conditions.  If needed, they will send crews out to treat or clear the roads, sidewalks and winter cycling network.

Those members of the Roads and Parking Services team who are not required to respond to winter weather will continue with their winter preparations, including training and equipment readiness.

Clearing Catch Basins

This weekend’s weather is expected to begin with heavy rain.  The rain will begin today, and it will continue throughout the weekend.  We’re asking residents to continue to clear their local catch basin of leaves and debris.  A clear catch basin allows water to drain off the road, making it safer for resident travel.  As temperatures drop, water that is left on the road may freeze causing dangerous conditions.  Small steps taken now to keep catch basins clear will help prevent water pooling on our roads.

Winter Weather Parking Bans

We have no reason to call a winter weather parking ban this weekend.  However, the first snow is an opportunity to remind residents to prepare for more significant weather that will arrive later this season.

Winter weather parking bans are called to support winter operations when snow accumulations are expected.  When there are no cars on the roads, our teams can clear them more efficiently and effectively.  They can get closer to the curbs keeping the catch basins clear and the roads open wider.  This work is critical as the season progresses.  

Please encourage residents to sign up for our winter weather parking ban notifications. There are four ways that you can stay informed:

These options, combined with our new set times for calling a winter weather parking ban, should ensure no residents are unaware of when bans go into place.

Going forward, with the exception of significant weather events, our Roads and Parking Services team will be aiming to:

  • Make the Winter Weather Parking Ban call by 9 am for an overnight parking ban – overnight parking bans will be from 7 pm to 7 am.
  • Make the Winter Weather Parking Ban call by 3:30 pm for a daytime parking ban – daytime parking bans will be from 10 am to 7 pm.

We are also confirming that identified Business Parking Areas will continue to allow paid parking during a winter weather parking ban.

What is Next?

In the coming weeks, we will continue to update and inform the community about our winter operations.  To support your community outreach, your Area Manager will be reaching out to speak to you about our winter operations and to address ward specific concerns you may have.

Our team is also available to support you by attending / preparing online presentations to community groups or to meet with residents in COVID-19 safe settings.  

Thank You!

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