Cars in way of city crews to be towed

A forecast that threatens Ottawa with its worst winter storm of the season had the city’s beleaguered snow removal crews planning emergency measures yesterday.



Ottawa yesterday imposed an emergency parking ban on city streets to give crews room to clear the mounds of snow left over from Wednesday’s storm before an expected weekend blizzard could dump up to 45 fresh centimetres on top of it.



Officials said yesterday the ban will remain in place until crews can clear the build up of snow that has become so great in places that there’s sometimes not sufficient road access for emergency, public transit, garbage and recycling vehicles.

"It becomes a tactical consideration as they are driving to a location, and to make a decision on where to stage their vehicles," said Kim Ayotte, Chief of Special Operations for the fire service. "When we’re responding with 10 or 12 vehicles it becomes even more complex."

Cars parked on restricted streets will be towed out of the way of snow removal crews, though the city will not be issuing fines. Drivers will have to contact the city to find where their vehicles were left.

Vehicles parked on streets east of Island Park Drive, west of St. Laurent Boulevard and north of Carling Avenue, Donald Avenue and the Rideau River, were at risk of being towed beginning last night.

John Manconi, Ottawa’s surface operations director, said five crews and more than 100 dump trucks were working last night to clear roads.

Crews are trying to stay ahead of a new storm that’s coming through. The area will experience 36 hours of near-continuous snowfall that will start late today and end early Sunday, according to Bryan Tugwood, a severe weather meteorologist with Environment Canada.

"It’s enough to really snarl things," said Tugwood.

Environment Canada is preparing to issue a storm watch 24 hours before the storm, he said.


almost the record

  • With 358 centimetres of snow so far this winter, 2007-2008 is already Ottawa’s second snowiest winter on record since Environment Canada began tracking in 1938. The record is 444.1 cm.