Significant Weather Event

April 5, 2023


Today, Ottawa has seen a mix of ice pellets, freezing rain, thunder, lightning, and a sustained downpour. Environment Canada’s alerts regarding freezing rain and heavy rainfall in the Ottawa region have proven out: the prolonged period of freezing rain, strong winds and rainfall continued throughout this afternoon and has led to significant ice build-up, power outages, tree damage and ponding. Thankfully, air temperatures have started to rise and surface temperatures are above zero, giving relief to our transportation networks – but there’s plenty of work to be done.

Public Works is working quickly and safely to provide the everyday services residents rely on while responding to the impacts of this significant weather event.

Roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network

The Significant Weather Event (SWE) declared yesterday afternoon remains in effect. Crews have been out nonstop and managed to stay ahead of this event, treating sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network. Where necessary, ice on sidewalks has been scraped down and treated. As evening falls, crews will start to make their way into residential neighborhoods to begin treating streets as required. This work will continue through the night.

City staff continue to monitor conditions and crews have been deployed to address drainage issues. As the rain continues, we will also monitor areas that are prone to localized flooding and address any water pooling by ensuring catch basins and ditches are opened.

Trees, limbs and brush

Forestry Services has received over 600 requests for service today – and counting. These include calls for broken limbs and downed trees due to ice accretion. Staff are triaging calls and prioritizing work to address trees and limbs that are blocking streets and those that may otherwise pose a hazard to residents or property. Once hazards and streets are cleared, staff and contractors will address broken limbs, non-hazardous removals, and brush/wood cleanup. Further, some trees may require reinspection and pruning work following the storm.

Forestry staff and contractors with the support of Roads staff will be working into the evening and over the coming weeks to address storm related service requests.

We’ll provide more information on the collection of brush and stumps as our operations continue.

Trees and branches can snap and fall without warning. Please stay off the roads and pathways, if possible.

Residents are advised to stay inside, safely away from broken and hanging branches/limbs or leaning trees. Please also be aware of ice chunks melting and falling from above.

Traffic signals

We’re aware of multiple power outages throughout the City that may be affecting the operation of traffic signals. Residents are reminded that a traffic signal without power should be treated as a four-way stop.

Waste collection

Curbside waste collection has been completed, with the exception of a few streets where downed trees or wires prevented our safe passage. For those residents, we ask that you keep your materials at the curb for pick up tomorrow, as we’ll be prioritizing those locations.

Facility parking lot maintenance

Parks maintenance staff have diligently worked throughout the day to apply salt and scrape City facility parking lots in various locations, including recreational facilities, fire stations, ambulance stations and parking lots for parks.

Spring flooding

The Spring Freshet Task Force continues to monitor the situation closely, and updates will follow.

Stay safe.