City of Kingston declares significant weather event during severe winter storm

Waves crash into the shore of Lake Ontario during a winter storm in December 2022. Photo by Kingstonist.

In the midst of what Environment Canada dubbed both a “major winter storm” and “crippling blizzard conditions,” the City of Kingston has declared a significant weather event.

Earlier this afternoon Utilities Kingston reported an outage for over 4,700 clients, which is centred around the Kingscourt and Rideau Heights neighbourhoods. Some areas have had power restored since the 2 p.m. outage.

In a media release, the City reminds residents to “use extra caution” and said that winter maintenance service levels for roads and sidewalks may not be met.

What makes a weather event significant? 

In the release, the City defined a significant weather event as “an approaching or occurring weather hazard with the potential to pose a significant danger to the users of highways (streets) within a municipality.” When hazardous weather is expected, Environment Canada will issue an alert under its Public Weather Alerting Program, as they have done multiple times already this week. Provincial legislation was updated in 2018 to allow municipalities to declare a significant weather event, the City added. 

The City provided the following tips to keep safe around snowplows:

  • Drivers: Stay three car-lengths behind a snowplow to allow for a safe stopping distance. NEVER cut off a snowplow.
  • Pedestrians and caregivers:
    • Assume the snowplow driver has NOT seen you.
    • If you see a snowplow, move off the sidewalk and into a yard where you can be seen.
    • Do NOT play on or make forts or tunnels in roadside snowbanks.
    • NEVER approach a snowplow, even when it has stopped.

A significant weather event may also mean a ban on overnight on-street parking on city streets. Check for any restrictions that may be in place.

Residents can review the City’s Winter Maintenance Policy online to learn more about the Provincial Minimum Maintenance Standards at

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