Spring storm wreaks havoc

Freez­ing rain, ice pel­lets, snow, high winds lead to dan­ger­ous con­di­tions on streets and high­ways

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - MEGHAN BALOGH

An April storm that En­vi­ron­ment Canada la­belled as “po­ten­tially his­toric” on Fri­day pelted the Kingston re­gion with freez­ing rain, ice pel­lets and snow dur­ing the week­end, caus­ing mul­ti­ple col­li­sions on area roads and high­ways and clos­ing parts of High­way 401 be­tween Brockville and Belleville off and on dur­ing the storm on Satur­day and Sun­day.

Flights at Kingston’s Nor­man Rogers Air­port were can­celled on the week­end, and many busi­nesses closed early or did not open at all as re­gional roads de­vel­oped a thick layer of ice, mak­ing travel haz­ardous.

Pre­cip­i­ta­tion be­gan to freeze at ap­prox­i­mately 1 p.m. on Satur­day, but Kingston pub­lic works crews hit the streets on Satur­day at noon to be­gin salt­ing, hop­ing to put a dent in the week­end’s ice buildup.

Queen’s Univer­sity can­celled week­end ex­ams and told stu­dents to avoid trav­el­ling to the cam­pus.

Many spe­cial and reg­u­lar events in the city were can­celled or resched­uled, churches can­celled Sun­day ser­vices, and Len­nox and Ad­ding­ton County Li­braries closed all of its branches.

En­vi­ron­ment Canada is­sued a state­ment on Sun­day evening say­ing that more freez­ing rain, mixed at times with ice pel­lets, was ex­pected, with gusty north­east winds rang­ing from 70 to 90 km/h hours mak­ing some power out­ages likely. The freez­ing rain was ex­pected to change over to rain by mid­night.

The Cataraqui Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity had is­sued a wa­ter safety state­ment on Thurs­day, lead­ing up to the weather event over the week­end.

With fore­casts call­ing for 70 to 90 mil­lime­tres of to­tal pre­cip­i­ta­tion over the week­end, and with the fore­cast of a week­end ice storm, the con­ser­va­tion au­thor­ity wrote in a news re­lease that “ice ac­cu­mu­la­tion could ex­ceed 20 mm.”

“Lo­cal­ized pond­ing and flood­ing of low-ly­ing ar­eas could oc­cur, al­though wide­spread gen­eral flood­ing is not pre­dicted,” the con­ser­va­tion au­thor­ity stated. “The an­tic­i­pated pre­cip­i­ta­tion could in­crease wa­ter lev­els and flow rates in creeks and in­land lakes, which are cur­rently at or just above av­er­age lev­els for the time of year.”

The au­thor­ity said that to pre­pare for the week­end storm, wa­ter man­agers have in­creased the flow of wa­ter through area dams to in­crease stor­age ca­pac­ity in lo­cal wa­ter sys­tems.

“Dam op­er­a­tions are on­go­ing and will con­tinue through the week, re­sult­ing in in­creased flows down­stream of the struc­tures,” the au­thor­ity stated. “CRCA is urg­ing res­i­dents to ex­er­cise cau­tion around lakes and streams, stay off any re­main­ing ice, and to stay away from un­sta­ble or slip­pery creek banks and shore­lines, as well as any dams and out­flow chan­nels.”

MEGHAN BALOGH/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Lenny Mor­row shov­els the side­walk on Dun­das Street East in down­town Na­pa­nee on Sun­day dur­ing a ma­jor storm that de­scended on much of south­ern On­tario dur­ing the week­end.

MEGHAN BALOGH/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

A par­tially buried bi­cy­cle sits out in the un­sea­son­ably in­clement weather on Sun­day in down­town Na­pa­nee.

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