Winter storm drops 15 cm of blowing snow on Ottawa

The winter storm that began on Saturday evening in Ottawa, Gatineau and areas of eastern Ontario caused extremely slow driving conditions across the region.

CBC Ottawa climatologist Ian Black said up to 17 cm fell by noon Sunday

A Bobcat snow plow clears the sidewalk along Queen Street in front of the World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa as snow piles up in one of the street's lanes. (Jamie Long/CBC)

More than 15 centimetres of snow plus strong winds caused slow driving condition across Ottawa, Gatineau and areas of eastern Ontario on Sunday.

CBC Ottawa climatologist Ian Black tweeted 13 cm had fallen by 7 a.m. ET at the Ottawa airport and between two and four more centimetres of snow were expected to fall by noon Sunday.

There were a handful of cancellations at the MacDonald-Cartier International Airport due to a major storm in the Maritimes. The snowfall in Ottawa has also caused delays and passengers should check their airline's website before heading to the airport.

Operation Red Nose also had to cancel its service on Saturday night due to the snowfall.

Environment Canada’s winter storm warning ended just before 11 a.m. Sunday but winds caused blowing snow. The frostbite scare was not as serious as the wind chill reached just –18 degrees Celsius in the morning Sunday.

Due to the snowfall, the City of Ottawa announced an overnight parking restriction would be in effect. That means drivers can't park on streets between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. unless they have an on-street parking permit.

Also in Quebec, Sunday was the first day all drivers are required to have winter tires on their vehicles or else they face a fine.

Tips for frostbite warning

Frostbite means exposed skin can freeze in less than 10 minutes. Health officials list these tips to avoid frostbite:

  • Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in. If it is too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
  • Keep extra mittens and gloves in the car, house or backpack.
  • Wear larger mittens over your gloves.
  • Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks. They are all extremely susceptible to frostbite.
  • Wear two pairs of socks — wool if possible.
  • Keep feet warm and dry.
  • Do not drink alcohol, which narrows blood vessels and promotes frostbite plus hypothermia.
Sunday is the first day all drivers in Quebec must have their winter tires on or else they face a fine from the provincial government. (CBC)

If you are wondering if you might have frostbite, there are four signs. Health officials call them the four "P's:"

  • Pink: reddish in colour (first sign).
  • Pain: becomes painful.
  • Patches: white, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Pricklies: areas feel numb.

If you do notice you have frostbite, Ottawa Public Health advises you do the following:

  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. It may cause more damage.
  • Warm up the area slowly. Use a warm compress or your own body heat to re-warm the area but don't use a compress that is too hot. Underarms are a good place.
  • If toes or feet are frostbitten, try not to walk on them.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you see white- or grey-coloured patches or if the area is numb.

Paramedics advise residents to seek immediate medical attention if you notice a severe frostbite.

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