‘Keep it clear’: Niagara urged to be ready for freezing rain, potential power outages

Communities throughout the Niagara region are bracing themselves for tonight’s heavy snow and significant freezing rain.

Precipitation, which began as snow could turn into freezing rain late Wednesday, and northeasterly winds could reach 50 to 60 kilometres per hour.

Environment Canada said extended and widespread utility outages are possible — and another light wintry mix of precipitation could happen on Thursday afternoon into Thursday evening.

In response, municipalities are urging residents to ensure snowplows are able to access area roads.

The Town of Lincoln has announced a “keep it clear” event due to the freezing rain warning.

A temporary on-street parking prohibition took effect at noon in Lincoln, which could last more than 72 hours depending on the ice accumulation.

The Township of West Lincoln said road crews regularly monitor weather reports and have been preparing since Environment Canada issued the alert.

“All available trucks, graders and sidewalk machines are ready for deployment, and staff is set to work this afternoon, this evening, overnight and early tomorrow morning to manage road conditions to keep commuters safe,” said Beth Audet, West Lincoln communications specialist.

Audet said the township wants to remind the public to be prepared and to do their part by not parking on municipal roadways.

Drivers who do not remove their vehicles from the road during a declared “keep it clear” ban will get a $75 ticket, and habitual offenders could be subject to towing.

All Lincoln Pelham Public Library branches will close today at 5 p.m., out of caution due to the weather.

Lincoln’s budget meeting has also been affected by the weather and deliberations should resume on March 1.

Niagara’s school boards have cancelled all late buses for secondary schools.

Hazardous conditions are expected during the morning commute due to freezing rain. Residents are advised to avoid travel and drive with caution.

With prolonged ice accumulation, there is the risk of utility outages. Residents are urged to stock up on supplies and to have a 72-hour emergency kit.

Beatrice Baleeiro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News