Freezing rain, ice pellets arrive in Ottawa

A messy few days are in store for eastern Ontario — and tomorrow's commute could be particularly painful.

Monday commute could be affected by inclement weather

Several millimetres of freezing rain is expected to hit late afternoon Sunday and is expected to persist into Monday. (Bruno Giguère/Radio-Canada)

A messy few days are in store for the National Capital Region and eastern Ontario.

Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning for the region, with several millimetres of freezing rain expected to hit Sunday afternoon and persist into Monday.

By 3 p.m. Sunday, people were already sharing photos on social media of the rain coming down.

"It does look like that morning commute, that drive in on Monday morning, is certainly going to be impacted by the freezing rain," said Geoff Coulson, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Between two and four centimetres of snow and ice pellets will also likely fall across the region Sunday afternoon, before changing to freezing drizzle in the evening.

"Then a second shot of precipitation starts around midnight — and that will be freezing rain again mixed with ice pellets," said Coulson.

The freezing rain will continue throughout much of Monday, he added, before changing to rain as temperatures rise to just above the freezing mark.

No major crashes — yet

Ottawa police said that they had dealt with a handful of collisions Sunday, but that none were major.

Police in Gatineau told Radio-Canada that as of 5:30 p.m. there had been five collisions Sunday afternoon, with three people suffering minor injuries.

A stretch of St. Joseph Boulevard in Gatineau's Hull sector was closed for about an hour so that crews could perform de-icing work, police said.

Ontario Provincial Police, meanwhile, had their hands full with a series of crashes on eastern Ontario highways — including one that closed the westbound lanes of Highway 401 near Brockville, Ont., for more than an hour.

No relief until mid-week

We won't be saying goodbye to the messy weather until Wednesday, Coulson said.

"This system is so slow moving, we could actually get significant amounts of rain from late Monday afternoon or Monday evening into Tuesday morning. So, this could be another whole phase of this storm system," he said.

Rainfall warnings could be issued as well, Coulson said, as more than 25 millimetres of rain is expected between Monday and Tuesday.

That rain will also be falling on top of already slick roads, adding to the slippery conditions.

Power outages possible

Environment Canada is also warning of possible power outages due to the combination of ice accumulation and northeasterly winds gusting at up to 50 km/h — which could cause tree limbs to snap and power lines to come down.

Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will become icy, slippery and hazardous.

The federal agency has asked people to consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.

Flights diverted to Ottawa 

This spring storm has already wreaked havoc on southern Ontario, where more than 35,000 customers are without power as of early Saturday afternoon.

The Ontario Provincial Police is reporting more than 700 crashes due to slippery road conditions.

Flooding is also expected to be an issue for many southern Ontario communities.

Toronto remained under a freezing rain warning Sunday, with Environment Canada saying an ice storm was "likely."

Twelve flights were diverted from Toronto to Ottawa on Saturday, with additional Sunday flights to and from Toronto also cancelled due to the weather.

with files from Kimberley Molina