Winter storm blankets Ottawa with more than 20 cm of snow

A winter storm has brought more than 20 centimetres of snow to Ottawa, covering the roads and disrupting travel by car, bus and airplane.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, Environment Canada reported 21 centimetres of snow had fallen at the Ottawa airport since it began Wednesday afternoon.

Another five centimetres or so is expected on Thursday according to the weather agency’s snowfall warning, which remains in effect. The snow could cause reduced visibility and the accumulated snow could make travel difficult, Environment Canada warned.

“There could be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas early this morning. Allow extra time to reach your destination.”

School buses across the region are cancelled, but schools remain open.

OC Transpo warned of “service delays” due to the weather, asking people to leave extra time to reach their destinations.

Environment Canada says the bulk of the heavy snow fell Wednesday night, but it’s expected to continue Thursday before tapering off to flurries in the afternoon.

Snow began Wednesday afternoon

The storm moved into Ottawa during the afternoon commute on Wednesday. By 9 p.m. roads across the city were covered by several centimetres of snow. Police urged motorists to adjust their speed to the conditions and only travel if it’s necessary.

Emergency crews responded to a call for a snowplow that rolled over into a ditch on Boundary Road at Hwy. 417 Wednesday evening. Firefighters extricated the trapped driver from the cab of the plow.

The snowfall warning stretches from Cornwall-Morrisburg, through Brockville – Leeds and Grenville and Kingston.

Winter parking ban

A daytime winter parking ban will be in effect on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. across the city.

“These hours might be extended if additional time is needed to complete winter road operations,” the city said in a news release.

During a winter parking ban, parking is not allowed on city streets so crews can plow more easily. Vehicles parked on the street may be ticketed and towed.

Flights cancelled

The Ottawa Airport’s departures page was showing seven cancelled flights as of Thursday morning around 7 a.m.

There were at least eight flights cancelled Wednesday night.

In Toronto, Pearson airport had 25 per cent of its flights cancelled after the snow rolled in.

More snow is expected on the weekend. 

After the snow ends on Thursday, things are expected to cool down. The high will be -4 C but by Thursday night tempertaures will drop to -15 C (-18 with the windchill).

Friday will be sunny with increasing cloudiness in the afternoon. The high will be -5 C. There’s a 70 per cent chance of flurries Friday night. 

Saturday will see flurries with a high of 1 C.

Sunday will see periods of snow with a high of -8 C.

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