Get ready, London: What you need to know when it snows

The City of London wants people to know what to expect when there's a significant snowstorm. Environment Canada is predicting up to 40 centimetres by Friday evening.

City of London offers insight into how it handles heavy snowstorms

London is facing its first big snowstorm of the season. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The City of London is reminding people what to expect when there's a significant snowstorm. Environment Canada is predicting up to 40 centimetres of snow in the region by Friday evening. 

"Our crew has one mission: to keep our streets safe and our city moving," said Mayor Ed Holder, in a written statement.

The City of London maintains 3,625 kilometres of roadway, 1,500 kilometres of sidewalk; 720 cul-de-sacs and 2,100 bus stops, as well as bridges and pedestrian crossovers in the winter.

The city's goal is to clear all local streets within 24 hours after the snowfall ends, unless it starts snowing again and a certain level of accumulation is met. 

Priority roads -  bus routes,  higher speed limits and those used by emergency services - are cleared first. School routes and roads in and out of the city are also high on the list.  

Which Streets Get Plowed First

There are provincial minimum standards that dictate roadway maintenance. There are five classes: one, two and three take priority. Classes four and five, such as local streets and some cul-de-sacs get cleared after the priority roads are complete. 

These are examples given by the city of certain road classifications: 

  • Class 1 Examples: Highbury Avenue, Wellington Road, Exeter Road, Fanshawe Park Road
  • Class 2 Examples: Southdale Road, Oxford Street, Dundas Street, Wharncliffe Road
  • Class 3 Examples: Viscount Road, Dufferin Avenue, Colborne Street Cycle Track
  • Class 4 Examples: Aldersbrook Road, Doon Drive, Tweedsmuir Avenue
  • Class 5 Examples: Local streets and some cul de sacs


A technique known as "anti-icing" is used during snowy weather. Salt brine mixed with beet juice (de-sugared sugar beet molasses) is applied to the road prior to a storm.  Anti-icing helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface.

The city does use salt, but tries to minimize the amount. It's only used on main streets at the start of a snowfall and throughout the snow removal process. That's to prevent the adhesion of snow or ice to the road, according to the city. Anti-icing allows crews to use even less salt once the snow starts falling.

Your property

The City of London Streets By-law dictates residents are responsible to clear snow from their property and keep it on their property, city officials said. In other words, don't move the snow from your laneway onto the street or sidewalk.

Officials recommend shoveling early and often to prevent snow from becoming packed down. They don't recommend homeowners use salt as it can be harmful to the environment, Reducing salt use on private property.

They also advise checking downspouts and water drains to prevent ice from forming on paved areas. 


These are the rules for winter parking in London. 

From November 1 - April 15, overnight parking passes will not be issued more than 48 hours in advance in case snow plows need to access to city streets. 

Parking overnight on City of London streets - between the hours of 3am-5am - is typically prohibited during the winter months.

Once crews have been deployed, Londoners looking for snow removal updates can visit or follow the City of London on Twitter or Facebook.