Snow swamps Ottawa region

Respite from shovels and ensuing back pain are in sight Friday after snow once again pounded the National Capital Region.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the Ottawa and Gatineau airports had 18 cm of snow, while downtown received 13 cm.

West of the Ottawa airport, 26 cm fell, while Richmond got 27 cm.

To date, it’s the biggest snowfall of the season, the total of which is already above average.

“My sense is, you’ve had about 75 to 80 cm of snow this winter so far,” said Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips.

About 3 cm fell in November.

Normally in December, Ottawa would get about 52 cm, he said.

All of last winter saw 108 cm, said Phillips, and “there was nothing last year that could even match this one.”

The most comparable day was Feb. 2, 2011, with 17 cm recorded at the airport, he said.

Since 1938, there have been 28 events with 25 cm or more, said Phillips, adding it works out to a major snowfall every three years.

“It’s not rare, but it’s something you can go several years without seeing one like this,” said Phillips.

The last time there was a snowfall of this magnitude was March 8, 2008, with 33.6 cm, said Phillips.

And this dumping of snow is here to stay.

Over the next week, every day is going to be below freezing and periods of snow are expected Saturday and Monday.

“So nothing scary and everything freezing, which will get the ice in the Rideau Canal moving along, which I’m sure, will please the Winterlude people,” said Phillips.

Friday is expected to be clear with a high of -6C.

Overall, Phillips is predicting a normal winter with more snow and colder temperatures, “but not necessarily one where nature is punishing us for the winter we missed last year,” he said.

“If I was manufacturing weather, I’d always order normal weather. It’s best for the most: It’s good for retailers, it’s good for people who like recreation, it’s good for people who even like to go travelling south,” he said.

Rescue services across the region responded to numerous spinouts and crashes on Thursday, although there were no reports of serious incidents or road closures.

The storm cancelled a slew of flights at the Ottawa airport, for the second time in two weeks.

Hydro Quebec was expected to restore power to 424 homes, mostly in the upper Gatineau Valley.

An overnight parking ban remains in effect.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

Need more specific information?
•For the latest updated weather information visit the Environment Canada website.
•For roads information, visit the MTO’s Ontario Road Conditions webpage (we’ve linked to the Eastern Region page).
•For information on flights at Ottawa International Airport, visit the arrivals and departures page.

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