City planning storm response, closures

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa is asking residents to stay home and out of their cars as a huge winter storm is expected to roar through the area just before Christmas, starting this evening (Dec. 22).

“Residents are asked to stay off the roads as much as possible during the upcoming Significant Weather Event declared for Thursday, Dec. 22 and Friday, Dec. 23,” city staff released in a statement today (Dec. 22). “By minimizing travel, you help keep the roads clear for roads crews and emergency vehicles.”

Environment Canada issued a Winter Storm Warning to end the work week.

“Snow, heavy at times, is expected to begin this evening before changing to rain Friday morning,” Environment Canada released in a statement today predicting snow, heavy at times, will start this evening and with amounts near 15 centimetres by morning.

An additional five to 10 cm are expected Friday afternoon in to Saturday (Dec. 24).  If its not snow, Environment Canada is expecting it will be rain.

“During this transition, there is a risk of freezing rain and ice pellets,” the weather prognosticators said. “Should freezing rain or ice pellets develop, snowfall amounts would be reduced. Temperatures are expected to plummet Friday afternoon leading to a potential flash freeze. Rapidly falling temperatures will be accompanied by strong winds gusting up to 70 km/h, snow at times heavy, and local blowing snow.”

Environment Canada is calling for wind chill values approaching -20 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to hit a low of -4 C this evening, hit a high of 5 C Friday before dropping to -8 C overnight tomorrow and staying at -5 C as Saturday’s high.

City staff are asking residents to plan ahead.

“If possible, complete your errands before the event is scheduled to begin later this evening,” Staff said. “Please stay home tomorrow unless it is absolutely necessary. Anyone who is required to travel during this event is asked to plan ahead and give themselves extra travel time.”

All Ottawa-area schools will be closed including those under the jurisdiction of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ottawa Catholic School Board, Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, and Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est in Ottawa and Western Québec School Board and Centre de services scolaire des Portages-de-l’Outaouais in Gatineau. Renfrew County school boards were already scheduled to be closed tomorrow.

The Ottawa Senators have cancelled their scheduled National Hockey League game against Detroit Friday evening due to the storm warning. It will be played late in February.

“Residents are reminded to work on their emergency kit to prepare for any power disruptions,” staff said. “Your emergency kit should contain flashlights, battery or crank radios, extra batteries, water and canned food. Follow local news and social media channels for the latest weather, transportation schedules and road conditions. Be prepared to alter plans, stay informed and stay safe. For more information on how you can prepare for an emergency, visit”

“The city shares critical information and public service announcements with our local news media so they can include it in their news coverage,” staff said. “Please look out for each other. Have a conversation now with neighbours, friends and family members about how to stay in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Plan to check in with each other if one of you lives in a community that is affected by an emergency.”

A City of Ottawa winter weather parking ban will be in effect 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23 to 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24.

“During a winter weather parking ban, parking is prohibited on city streets so crews can plow easily and effectively,” city staff said. “Vehicles parked on the street during a ban may be ticketed and towed. Though on-street monthly parking permit holders are exempt from this restriction when they are parked in residential parking permit zones, we encourage those who can, to find off-street parking options to avoid getting snowed-in.”

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) announced it will close its branches tomorrow (Dec. 23).

“All branches of Ottawa Public Library (OPL) will be closed on Friday, due to the winter storm expected to start overnight,” OPL staff released in a statement today. “The weather-related closure tomorrow also means that all OPL Bookmobile stops will be cancelled as will deliveries by the Library’s Homebound services. “

Due dates for regular library items will be extended until Dec.27. Expiry dates for holds pickup will be extended until Jan. 2, 2023.

OPL book drops to return Library items will remain open.   

“Branches are expected to open on Saturday, Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” the OPL said.

OPL’s phone and online service centre, InfoService, will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to serve and help customers with their library accounts or to support any customer who may have questions about accessing OPL’s large digital collection of eBooks, eAudiobooks, databases and online learning, movie streaming, and more: 613 580-2940, 

A wide range of recorded programs is available for all ages on the library’s YouTube channel:Ottawa Public Library / Biblio publique d’Ottawa – YouTube.

For the latesupdates about current service levels at OPL, please visit our website 

Recreation and Cultural Facilities

All recreation and cultural facilities will be closed on Friday, December 23 and all drop-in activities, programs and rentals will be cancelled.

Other City facilities

All other City facilities, including City Hall and Mary Pitt Centre, will remain open with the exceptions listed below.

Counter services

All Client Service Centres and all other City counter services will be closed. Please visit for how to obtain services remotely and online. Civil Ceremonies scheduled on this day will not be impacted.

Municipal child-care services 

All Municipal child-care centres will be closed.

Ottawa Public Library branches

All Ottawa Public Library Branches will be closed. All bookmobile stops and homebound deliveries are also cancelled. Due dates and holds pickup dates will be extended.

Waste and recycling collection

At this time, the City is not anticipating an impact to residential waste collection as a result of the weather event. Residents can stay informed of curbside collection delays by signing up to receive notifications through the Ottawa Collection Calendar app; download the mobile app or register for alerts and updates.

Transit Services

OC Transpo customers should plan ahead and anticipate possible delays. Stay informed by following OC Transpo at or Twitter.

The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC) has cancelled all its in-person programs tomorrow including Friday Morning Circle Time and Friday Afternoon Circle Time.

The Ottawa Humane Society is urging pet owners to take caution this week, especially for the flash freeze expected on Friday accompanied by heavy winds and snow, leading into a weekend with the coldest temperatures of the season to date.

“Every year, cats left out in the cold suffer from frostbite and other injuries, and are brought to the OHS,” OHS President Sharon Miko said. “A cat’s situation can change quickly in extreme weather — what was once an enjoyable stroll can become a matter of life and death with little warning.”

The OHS always recommends keeping cats indoors for the animals’ safety. During the winter, the OHS further stresses the importance of keeping cats indoors.

The OHS is encouraging members of the public who find stray cats in the cold to contact 613-725-3166 ext. 221 to ensure the cat can return home safely or to arrange for the cat to be brought to the OHS. If a cat is in danger, call Ottawa Bylaw Services at 311.

The OHS recommends pet owners to take additional precautions to protect their pets and other animals from freezing temperatures:

  • Limit the time dogs spend outside.
  • Take dogs for shorter, more frequent walks, and consider a sweater or coat for dogs.
  • After a walk, wipe dogs’ paws to remove salt, sand and other harmful substances.
  • Monitor outdoor water bowls to ensure the water hasn’t frozen.
  • Avoid leaving pets in a cold car.
  • Animals may hide in cars to keep warm. Before starting a vehicle, bang on the hood to scare away animals seeking shelter.

Dogs that live outside are required by law to have an insulated doghouse built from weather-proof material, facing away from prevailing winds. The shelter must be elevated from the ground with a door flap and bedding.

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