City struggles with fresh dump of snow
It will take a few days yet to dig out of this one.
Still cleaning up from last week’s 31-centimetre snowfall, the capital saw another 52 centimeters land over the weekend, pushing total accumulation for the season over the four-metre mark and closer to the record for the snowiest Ottawa winter, ever.
"It’s going to take the rest of this week to put this storm behind us, as far as winter clearing operations are concerned," Deputy City Manager Richard Hewitt said yesterday at a briefing on municipal snow clearing efforts.
Five hundred pieces of various snow moving and removal equipment, manned by up to 600 people, have worked non-stop to clear streets and sidewalks, but with 83 cm falling over five days, work crews are running out of room to push snow.
"It’s very difficult for them to push the snow very far back. So we’re ending up with narrow roads. Opened up, but narrower," Hewitt said. "Even some of the main arterials will be narrower than usual."
The cost of operations has not yet been tallied, but Hewitt said it would make a big dent in Ottawa’s $65-million budget for snow removal in 2008.
"The numbers will come to us over the coming days and weeks and we’ll be reporting them," we said. "At this point, we have to do what we have to do."
Yesterday, O-Train and Para Transpo services were cancelled. Bus routes were reduced to 30 minutes for main routes and hourly for local trips. Articulated buses — prone to getting stuck in snow — were not used.
Garbage and recycling collection is delayed by one day, but child care and March Break camps will run to schedule.
The storm hit one of the busiest weekends for the Ottawa International Airport. Dozens of departing flights, taking March breakers south, were cancelled, as were arrivals. Some people spent the night at the airport.
"We put out cots and blankets and tried to make people as comfortable as possible when sleeping in an airport terminal," said airport spokesperson Krista Kealey.
As of noon yesterday, Ottawa had received 410.7 cm, according to David Rodgers, a senior meteorologist with Environment Canada. That’s about 33 cm short of the 444.1 cm record logged in 1970-71.