Shortly after 1 pm today, February 2, Environment Canada issued a Snow Squall Watch for the City. The range of wind gust speeds have since increased to 50 to 70 kilometres an hour, potentially creating dangerous conditions as visibility – caused by both falling and blowing snow – may be suddenly reduced. Snow fall accumulation reaching up to 5 centimetres is also possible for certain parts of the City. The timing of this event is expected to begin this afternoon, and continue into the evening hours.
Tallying Up Our Snowbanks
Since our last update, snowbanks have been shown no mercy and one-by-one, we’re continuing to remove those who are encroaching the most on our network. Since Tuesday, Roads and Parking Services has:
- Assigned a combined total of 108 crews to snow removal.
- Worked through 4 shift changes – changes that will continue well into the weekend.
- Removed snowbanks from 162,960 curb metres. This is the equivalent of clearing 56.58 curb metres a minute!
- Removed snowbanks from more than 243 street segments.
Did you know that we can have up to 7 workers assigned to a single snow removal crew with another 8 to 12 operators hauling snow from our roads and into our snow disposal facilities? This means that over a 12-hour period, we can have up to 513 people working on snow removal simultaneously. This doesn’t even include those who are out coordinating, leading and supporting the operations!
In order to keep sidewalks, priority roads and the winter cycling network safe during this event, a portion of the team who has been removing snowbanks may need to be reallocated to respond to the weather. Luckily, this is a smaller event and snowbank removal will be able to continue in parallel. Once the network is restored, teams who had been redeployed will be able to rejoin our removal crews.
Please remember that parking restrictions are in effect during snowbank removal operations – pay close attention to posted signage as these indicate when parking restrictions will take effect. Failure to remove parked vehicles from areas scheduled for snow removal will be ticketed and towed to a nearby street. No one is exempt from these restrictions, including those with on-street parking permits.
As the event continues making its way to the City, there is a chance for Environment Canada to update its alert to a Snow Squall Warning – but, we are ready. Supervisors will be out monitoring the network, especially out in rural neighbourhoods where drifting and blowing snow are more likely to arise, and teams will be dispatched at the first sight of flakes.
At this time, our focus remains with snowbank removal and unless an operational shift is required, snowbank removal will continue at full capacity.
We encourage everyone to monitor Environment Canada for the most up-to-date forecast information.