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A short-lived ice storm (4 photos)

Freezing rain warning came and went.

Slip sliding away.

Driving on city side streets, and especially braking on them, was a somewhat uncontrollable situation in the early morning of Boxing Day.

Main arterial roads had been salted before dawn and were mainly clear, but walking, driving, and perhaps even crawling on residential streets was a very slippery undertaking.

Pedestrians were clearly having a difficult times negotiating sidewalks through the city in the morning.

Rain fell in the wee hours of the night, coating windshields and spreading a thin sheet of ice over roadways and sidewalks. Throughout the morning, city plows could be seen in various neighbourhoods spreading salt, as a forecasted ice storm materialized, but appears to have been short-lived.  

Rain came more heavily at around 10:30 a.m., but by that time the temperature outside had inched above the zero mark. The rising temperature, expected to spike to 9C by 3 p.m., will likely avert an icy situation like the one experienced in late March, when power outages struck and branches heavy with ice fell.

Ice storms in the winter months have become common in the Guelph area in recent times. One in 2013 uprooted trees, and tore down thousands of branches, decimating the city’s tree canopy, and blocking a number of streets and sidewalks.

Vehicles and roofs were damaged, powerlines were downed, and there were lengthy power outages experienced almost exactly three years ago. The storm cost the city about a $1 million in damages and management cost.  

Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for Waterloo and Wellington counties early on Boxing Day, but lifted it just before 11 a.m. Similar alerts were issued throughout southern Ontario.

The temperature spike is expected to be a one-day anomaly. The area should return to sub-zero conditions on Tuesday, and stick close to the freezing mark throughout the week.

Snow is forecast for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The sun might poke through on Wednesday and Saturday.


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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