Cornwall snowstorm breaks 1966 snowfall record; cleanup continues

In this Dec. 29, 2015 screen grab from The Weather Channel radar, a massive weather system from Texas pounded Ontario for nearly the entire day. Cornwall broke an all-time record for a single dumping of snow for a Dec. 29. (The Weather Channel via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – Tuesday’s snowstorm set an all-time record in Cornwall for a single dumping of snow on Dec. 29.

Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said the snow started around 12:30 a.m. and continued steadily until roughly 6 p.m.

There was some freezing rain mixed in with the snow during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Coulson said.

The official weather observer in Cornwall for Environment Canada recorded 13 centimeters (5.1 inches) of snow, while another volunteer recorded 25 centimeters (9.8 inches).

“Given the gusty winds, there were some challenges in getting snow measurements yesterday (Tuesday),” Coulson said.

Both observations beat the record for the most snow on Dec. 29, which was 10.9 centimeters (4 inches) in 1966. Records for Cornwall have been kept since 1950.

City had all hands on deck

At the height of Tuesday’s snowstorm, the City of Cornwall had every available piece of machinery on the streets clearing snow, including all contractors.

“It’s been back to normal for us, we’ve been prepared for quite a while now waiting for the first snowfall and the first one was certainly a doozy,” Paul Rochon, city roads supervisor, told Cornwall Newswatch. “We had 22 routes out, which means 22 pieces of equipment were out plowing all our priority one and priority two routes (main arterial and collector streets).”

With intensity and amount of snow made for some challenges in Ottawa with vehicles and buses getting stuck and Rochon said Cornwall had similar issues.

“Absolutely. With the snow continuing we had to put more effort into our priority runs to make sure they were clear so our secondary routes were delayed a bit so were some issues there. With the snow continuing it makes it hard to get everything at once,” he said.

All residential streets were cleared as of 3 p.m., Rochon said. Public works crews will concentrating on snow removal once the snow and freezing drizzle stops.

“The sidewalks are a bit more of a challenge. A lot of sidewalks are close to the roads but now that the plowing is all done the sidewalk effort has been continuing,” Rochon said.

They hope to have all sidewalks clear by Thursday (Dec. 31).

As for the snow removal budget, Rochon said there was still “quite a bit of room” in the $2.6 million budget. Rochon still has to tally up the cost of the Tuesday snowstorm but “we will stay below the budget.”

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