Mass melt replaces freezing rain in Ottawa, Gatineau

Freezing rain turned into rain Saturday in the Ottawa area but roads and sidewalks remained slick as police and city officials urged residents to stay inside if possible.
Mild temperatures led to rain and a massive melt across Ottawa, with puddles and icy sidewalks. 2:43

Ottawa was coated with freezing rain Saturday morning that caused roads and sidewalks to turn into skating rinks as precipitation turned into rain.

Freezing rain coated this outside of the Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall, which is open Saturday. The Rideau Canal is not. Sidewalks were also available for skating. (Ryan Gibson/CBC)

Police urged drivers to slow down due to icy conditions and pedestrians to take caution, as many sidewalks were more like skating rinks.

Police reported at least several dozen collisions but none caused serious injury.

The freezing rain warning ended Saturday afternoon as between two and eight millimetres of ice accumulated. There was then 10 to 15 mm of rain expected for the rest of Saturday.

The Rideau Canal Skateway closed at midnight Friday due to the weather, the National Capital Commission announced.

"Snow, freezing rain or water on the ice surface may hide serious deterioration of the ice thickness. For this reason, the NCC urges the public to refrain from venturing onto the Rideau Canal Skateway," the NCC posted on its website.

Meanwhile, the Vorlage Ski Centre in Wakefield, Que., was closed Saturday due to the weather but Camp Fortune and Mont Ste. Marie remained open.

Flight problems in Ontario, Quebec

There were some delays and cancellations at the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa due to the freezing rain, but a spokeswoman reported conditions were improving Saturday. Fog patches moving on later Saturday also formed the potential for delays.

Montreal and Toronto each issued ground stops at their respective international airports Saturday morning, which caused more delays. Toronto's Pearson International Airport also suffered from computer glitches causing serious delays.

There was also a couple of power outages in Ottawa. One near Sussex Drive and Rideau Street put traffic lights in a flash cycle and an outage in the area of Montreal and Langs roads left some customers without power for a time.

If people don’t have to commute or travel Saturday, officials advise against going out.