Weather is unpredictable in Ottawa and can sometimes take a turn for the worst. You may have seen the term Significant Weather Event being used and wondered what it meant.
A Significant Weather Event is called when hazardous weather conditions, such as a strong blizzard or storm, are predicted that will result in some City services taking longer than usual to complete. These service impacts can change how you go about your day and might mean you’ll need to reconsider any outdoor travel or take extra safety precautions when using City sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network.
Who declares a Significant Weather Event?
Environment Canada will first need to issue a weather warning that predicts hazardous conditions will impact the City. Based on that forecast or the current weather conditions, Roads and Parking Services will evaluate the potential for impacts on services. If the weather is severe enough to impact City operations, a Significant Weather Event will be declared.
A Significant Weather Event is lifted if the forecasted weather is not as bad as originally anticipated, or if the weather eases enough for services to resume regular operations.
How does a Significant Weather Event impact me?
A Significant Weather Event can mean there is an increased risk when using City roads and sidewalks. Roads and Parking Services will still be out to keep sidewalks, cycling networks and roads safe, but will need more time to meet their work to usual standards. Please be mindful of the hazardous weather conditions when planning your day and use extra caution when going outside.
A Significant Weather Event may also come with a winter weather parking ban. If a winter weather parking ban is put in place, you cannot park on City roads during certain pre-set times. To learn more about winter weather parking bans visit ottawa.ca/winter.
How do you find out if a Significant Weather Event has been declared?
There are many ways you can keep yourself informed of Significant Weather Events as well as other winter weather related impacts. Winter updates are posted regularly to City accounts on Twitter and Facebook. If a winter weather parking ban is called in conjunction with a Significant Weather Event, subscribers to the Winter Parking e-newsletter are notified via email. It’s easy to sign up to receive these emails, just be sure to check your junk mail folder for sign-up confirmation. You can also visit ottawa.ca/winter for all winter maintenance updates.
For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.