Streets & Sidewalks

Snowstorms & Emergencies

During heavy snowfalls, property owners are encouraged to assist the City’s snow removal crews by:

  • Getting vehicles off the streets and parking in your driveway
  • Keeping all catch basins clear of snow and ice for proper drainage during a thaw
  • Keeping fire hydrants clear and visible

Here are some tips for preparing for a snowfall:

  • Prepare your vehicle for winter weather.
  • Learn and practice winter driving techniques.
  • Do not park on busy streets during a heavy snow fall, even if on-street parking is allowed at certain times of the day.
  • Check for Snow Route, No Stopping and No Parking signs when parking on streets.
  • Take public transit.
  • Tune in to a local radio station to listen for a possible snow emergency to be declared later.

Before a snowstorm, we apply anti-icing material which is a salt brine solution that helps keep snow and ice from bonding to the roadway. Once the storm begins, City crews and contractors begin by applying de-icing material such as salt or a sand/salt mixture and plowing roadways throughout Hamilton. We want to ensure that Hamilton’s roads remain open for emergency vehicles, buses , business and major institutions like schools and hospitals.

Roads are plowed based on priority:

Certain roads are snow emergency routes. When the City declares a snow emergency, it is illegal to park on these roads. Vehicles that block snow routes during an emergency may be ticketed and/or towed at the owner's expense.

Snow emergency routes may be signed with:

  • No Stopping Anytime
  • No Parking Anytime
  • No Parking Snow Route

Snow emergencies are announced on local radio stations.

Here are some tips for winter driving:

  • If you must drive, give yourself more time to reach your destination.
  • Drive according to weather and road conditions.
  • Park your vehicle off the street where possible.
  • Do not park in a spot that has a Snow Route, No Stopping or No Parking sign.
  • Stay back at least 25 metres from snow plows, sanders and other equipment so the operator can see you.
  • Stay behind snow plows. Passing a plow is dangerous.

The City of Hamilton may declare a significant weather event when the weather forecast, or weather conditions meet a certain threshold. Not all significant weather events will qualify as a snow emergency.

What is a significant weather event?

As per the Ontario Municipal Act, a municipality may declare a significant weather event when a weather hazard, either forecasted or occurring, has the potential to pose a significant danger to road users on roads maintained by the City of Hamilton.

This declaration suspends the standard timelines required for municipalities to meet their winter maintenance objectives. All roadways and/or sidewalks are deemed in a state of repair with respect to snow accumulation and/or ice conditions, until the municipality declares the significant weather event has ended. 

A significant weather event may be declared when:

  • Significant snow accumulation during a 24-hour period, or longer
  • Ice formation occurs without warning from the weather forecast
  • High winds leading to blowing snow and large snow drifts
  • Freezing temperatures when de-icing operations will not be effective

The declaration of a significant weather event is not an indication of reduced service levels or a road closure. It is to notify the public that due to the forecasted or current weather conditions, caution is to be exercised when travelling on City streets and sidewalks, and that it may take longer than usual to restore the conditions back to a normal state of repair. When the municipality declares an event has ended, standard timelines for winter maintenance activities then begin.

Notification of a significant weather event

In the event of a significant weather event, please check the following outlets for official information from the City of Hamilton:

  • The City of Hamilton’s website
  • The City's Twitter account

Residents can also monitor those channels to stay up to date with the City's Plow Tracker.