Winter Operations Update - Tuesday, April 4

Earlier today Environment Canada issued a Freezing Rain Warning for the Ottawa region. Significant freezing rain and ice pellets likely, with the potential for significant ice storm conditions.

Forecast and Conditions

prolonged period of freezing rain is expected to begin overnight and continue into Wednesday afternoon, leading to significant ice build-up in some areas. Some areas may see several hours of freezing rain, which may lead to power outages and tree damage. Another factor making this event challenging is the wind coming in from the east at 30 kilometres per hour gusting up to 50 kilometers per hourIce accretion of 10 to 15 millimetres is forecasted before temperatures rise above the freezing mark and precipitation changes to plain rain. Total rainfall amounts in the range of 35 to 45 millimetres are possible before this event exits the region early Thursday morning.

With the amount of freezing rain forecasted, areas such as sidewalks, roads, pathways and the winter cycling network will become icy, creating hazardous travelling conditions. Residents are reminded to exercise caution while using all of our transportation networks.

A Significant Weather Event has been Declared

A Significant Weather Event (SWE) is declared when Environment Canada issues a Weather Hazard when weather that is either occurring or approaching has the potential to pose significant danger to users of Ottawa’s transportation network.

The intent of declaring a SWE is to notify the public that because of the forecast and/or current weather conditions, it will take longer than usual to restore the transportation network to expected conditions and that caution is to be exercised when using sidewalks, roads, and the winter cycling network.

For more information about the Significant Weather Events program, please visit

Our Response

The Roads and Parking Services team continue to operate 24/7 and the team have materials and equipment ready to respond to this event. Supervisors will be out overnight and into the early morning hours to monitor conditions. Once the freezing rain moves in, sidewalk machines and salt trucks will be deployed to treat sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network. We will also monitor areas that are prone to localized flooding, and address any water pooling by ensuring catch basins and ditches are open and able to take in water. 

Next Steps

Our focus today will be on the continued preparation for this upcoming event while pausing some of our spring operations. Crews will be patrolling the network as the event draws closer to the City and begin treating the transportation network as required.

Given the prolonged freezing rain event, our operations will take longer than usual and we ask for your patience. Conditions will make things difficult to navigate, and the support of our residents is crucial as we work on responding to this event. 

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Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1