As the “major winter storm” moves into the area, Environment Canada has issued a blizzard warning for the Kingston, Odessa, Frontenac Islands, Napanee, Consecon, Picton, and Sandbanks Park areas.
The warning advises of “crippling blizzard conditions” for the evening of Friday, Dec. 23 and into Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022.
“Travel will be extremely difficult to impossible at times and is not advised. This includes Highway 401 from near Kingston to Brockville,” the notice reads.
Further potential hazards of the storm include snowfall amounts of 20 to 40 cm by Sunday morning, as well as windchill values approaching -20 C, and possible flash freezing “producing icy and slippery surfaces.”
Due to the snowy forecast, the City of Kingston has implemented their Winter Parking Ban for tonight. While the ban is in place, parking on all City streets is prohibited between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. and from 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. on the streets that surround Kingston General Hospital. Check in on the City’s Winter Parking webpage for any changes to the Winter Parking Ban throughout the holidays.
“Temperatures are expected to plummet this afternoon leading to a potential flash freeze,” Environment Canada said. “Rapidly falling temperatures will be accompanied by blizzard conditions and strong to damaging winds as lake effect snow develops off Lake Ontario. Given the localized nature of lake effect snow, accumulations will vary depending on location.”
The national weather agency noted that visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow. “Protect yourself from wind, cold and disorientation by staying sheltered, indoors or with your vehicle. Anyone who is not dressed warmly is at risk of frostbite and hypothermia in cold weather. Ensure that shelter is provided for pets and outdoor animals.”
Many of the surrounding municipalities have issued Significant Weather Event declarations due to the forecasted weather. Central Frontenac Township, Loyalist Township, Lennox and Addington County, North Frontenac Township, Stone Mills Township, and Tyendinaga have all released statements noting that it may take the municipality longer than usual to bring the roads and sidewalks back to a state of repair
“During the significant weather event, the Municipality is advising motorists, pedestrians, and residents to use extra caution as the municipality may not be able to meet its maintenance standards for roads, sidewalks, and facilities due to the expected high winds, heavy snowfall, flash freezing and the duration of the storm,” Central Frontenac said in their statement, which echos those from the other municipalities as well.
For all of these areas, Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight, according to Environment Canada. More information on emergency plans and kits is available here.