Snow plow drivers are working overtime this week as the region is hammered with a winter blast.
On Tuesday, a brutal storm blew in, bringing major snow accumulations to a large swath of the province. Several communities in the Kingston region have declared a ‘significant weather event’, meaning the municipalities can’t meet their own guidelines in clearing the roads and sidewalks while the storm is underway.
Global News weather specialist Bill Hall says this could be one of the biggest storms to hit the region this season.
“By the time this two-day weather event is over, a lot of us could see 40 centimetres or more,” says Hall. “This season, this winter, this is probably the strongest one.”
But it’s not just one storm system affecting us, but a combination of two low-pressure systems.
“The real weather maker is the other one closer to the east coast. It’s siphoning all kinds of moisture off of the ocean and it’s feeding the other system.
The winter storm has caused snow and blowing snow on major roadways like the 401 and, leading to near-zero visibility. The treacherous conditions prompting to police to advise drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
“Stay off the roads,” says OPP Const. Curtis Dick. “If you have a safe location, don’t leave there. Plan to stay there for a period of time until conditions improve.”
Several school boards also closed down. The Limestone, Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic, Hastings, Prince Edward and Upper Canada Districts closed schools for Tuesday due to inclement weather.
The local school boards released a joint statement regarding the closures:
“The decision to close schools and offices is a significant one, and does not occur without considerable discussion and consultation,” Officials with the boards say. “The three boards considered Environment Canada’s suggestion to stay off the roads, which keeps people safe and allows road crews to do their work.”
To ensure the safety of students, school boards in the area released statements on Twitter to alert the community.
Queen’s University has cancelled all classes scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and onward on Tuesday. They informed students through a tweet released early Tuesday morning.
St. Lawrence College campuses also cancelled classes and activities that are taking place after 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Although classes taking place prior to mid afternoon are running as per usual and the college will continue to remain open.
Kingston Daycare has also confirmed to Global News that they will be shutting down Collins Bay, St. Martha, Trillium and Our Lady of Lourdes child care centres due to the storm.
Other weather-related closures include the Kingston Military Family Resource Centre and the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston, who will closing their facility and programs afternoon on Tuesday.
The KFL&A Public Health programs and services have been cancelled, they may reopen on Wednesday if weather permits. While the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health are closing their services at 3 pm on Tuesday.
Flights going in and out of the Norman Rogers airport in Kingston are also affected, and more details can be found on their website.
The good news, for those who need to commute, is that Kingston Transit will be running their services as per usual on Tuesday. They are asking the community to monitor their social media page for updates, in case of any changes to their services.
As for pedestrians that need to be outdoors before Wednesday, city staff are assuring residents through their social media page.
The city says they’re ready for the significant snowfall that will be blanketing the city’s sidewalks. They have allocated 15 snowplows to clear over 600 kilometres of sidewalks. Public Works will clear the sidewalks next to the main roads first then move onto collector and transit routes which will then be followed by residential sidewalks.