Ottawa hammered by winter's wrath, again

In less than a week more than 60 cm of snow has fallen on the Ottawa region.
It wasn't quite a winter wonderland for Ottawa motorists Friday.

Commuters and travellers struggled as a snowstorm hit the Ottawa region early Thursday, dumping more than 30 centimetres in some locales.

Franktown, southwest of Ottawa, and Greely both reported 35 centimetres of snow. Nearly the same amount fell in Brockville and Kingston.

Ploughs at the Ottawa airport were working to clear runways to relieve pressure of delayed flights. "Our crews are on the runways, they're doing a great job and they're on it," said Krista Kealey, airport spokeswoman.

The weather delayed more than a dozen arrivals while seven incoming flights were cancelled. Outbound air passengers faced late departures and six flights were cancelled.

"It’s prevented us from taking off today to get to Toronto, so we’re delayed three days to go to Bermuda," said passenger Robert Massart.  "It’s a little disappointing."  

By the afternoon, Ottawa police had responded to more than 50 collisions. Public transit users had to wait up to 45 extra minutes for OC Transpo buses.

For OC Transpo commuter Robert Duffy it wasn't the delays that bothered him but snow on the city's sidewalks.

"An elderly gentleman was exiting the bus … the man had a cane and he couldn’t get through (the snowbank)," Duffy said. "The onus really falls upon OC Transpo and the city to help ensure the mass transit for the public is more accessible than it is. It’s really very dangerous."

Downtown residents shovelling snow from their walks said the snowfall was lighter than the snow from last week's storm. "Actually this is better. It’s a lot lighter, a lot easier to shovel compared to the last time," said Vince Sicoli between shovel loads. "This is a quick walk in the park."

Jason Staniforth, an area manager for core roads with the City of Ottawa, said the heaviest snowfall coincided with peak rush hour. "So it’s a little more difficult to get ploughs around and through traffic to get things cleaned up quicker," he said.

Across the river, the storm hampered Quebec Hydro's efforts to restore electricity to some 1,400 customers.