Snowstorm 2.0: Ottawa braces for post-christmas ‘wall of white’
So far, only a total of 15 centimetres predicted but timed well to snarl morning commute
Ottawa was bracing for a “wall of white” that was expected to hit early Thursday, greeting awakening residents with a fresh blanket of snow and a messy morning commute.
The city was expected to be at the edge of a massive and powerful storm that was already hitting the eastern United States hard after ripping through the South. But the low-pressure system was still bring an intense snowfall.
Environment Canada meteorologist Arnold Ashton said the snow would start falling between 2 and 3 a.m. in Ottawa. By dawn, there should be two to four centimetres on top of last week’s unexpected large dump, and the snow will keep coming, he said, with an additional five to 10 cm, most of it in the morning before easing off in the afternoon.
“It’s going to come in as a wall of white,” he said, “which is what it’s been doing as it’s been heading north across the northern-tier states and southern Ontario.”
In total, Ottawa could see up to 15 cm of snow from the storm — not a huge amount for the city, but timed well to mess up morning rush hour, according to Ashton.
“The snow will be coming down pretty hard in the overnight hours,” he said. “It won’t be a pretty commute.”
The possibility also remained that the storm’s path could shift enough to give Ottawa an even larger dump of snow.
“Things are still evolving. It’s still early on,” he said.
As of Wednesday evening, only a small number of flights in or out of Ottawa International Airport had been cancelled, but travellers should watch for updates.
One bright side of the storm is that the cold weather will mean the snow it brings will be fluffy rather that the heavy, wet snow in last Friday’s storm, which caused many branches to break and left 110,000 HydroQuébec customers without power and additional power outages in Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley. Several thousand of those were still without power Wednesday.
“We’re not anticipating any hydro issues related to the storm,” he said.
While blowing snow would be a problem along the St. Lawrence River, Ashton said that would not be a major issue in Ottawa.