On this page:
- Significant weather events
- Road plowing
- Sidewalks, trails, and pathways
- Winter parking
- Cold warnings
- Local forecast and weather alerts
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Four tips to stay safe and be a good neighbour this winter.
Norfolk County may declare a significant weather event when the weather forecast, or conditions, meet a certain threshold.
What is a significant weather event?
According to 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 on roads maintained by Norfolk County.
This declaration suspends the standard timelines required for municipalities to meet their winter maintenance objectives.
A significant weather event may be claimed when:
- Significant snow accumulation is expected, usually 8 cm (about 3.15 inches) or more, over a 24-hour period or longer
- Ice formation occurs without warning from the weather forecast
- De-icing operations will not be effective
- High winds cause blowing snow and large snow drifts
Declaring a significant weather event notifies residents that:
- Due to the forecasted or current weather conditions, residents are urged to stay home and avoid unnecessary driving
- Extra caution should be taken if travelling on County streets and sidewalks
- The County will only deploy resources to address snow or ice accumulation if it is safe and practicable to do so
- Street parking is not allowed, and cars parked on the street may be tagged and/or towed
- It may take longer than usual to complete necessary winter maintenance activities and return roadways and sidewalks to a safe and usable condition
When a significant weather event is declared, Norfolk County will:
- Update norfolkCounty.ca/news
- Issue a media release to local media
- Post on our Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) social media accounts
- Send an email to our news subscribers
When a significant snow event has ended, regular timelines for winter maintenance begin. Norfolk County will notify residents by:
- Updating norfolkCounty.ca/news
- Issuing a media release to local media
- Posting on our Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) social media accounts
- Sending an email to our news subscribers
Minimum maintenance standard
As snow begins to accumulate, Norfolk’s snowplows clear roads in a priority order based on the Province of Ontario’s Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways.
- Class 2 and 3 roads (primary)
- Class 4 roads (rural/concession)
- Class 5 and 6 roads (subdivisions and low volume)
Depending on weather conditions, snowplows will return to roads to keep them clear of snow.
The piles of snow at the end of your driveway after your road has been plowed are called windrows. Property owners or occupants are responsible for clearing snow windrows. Norfolk County does not clear snow windrows from the ends of driveways.
Ice control: brine, salting and sanding
Before a winter storm, Norfolk County’s roads team may apply brine, a mixture of salt and water, to roadways to reduce ice from forming on the road. This makes roads easier to plow and reduces the amount of salt used later.
Salt is applied to roads when the temperature is above -10 degrees Celsius to help control snow and ice. When temperatures are below -10 degrees Celsius, salt mixed with an additive that helps make the salt more effective is applied.
Sand is applied to increase traction during slippery conditions. Sand is used on local roads, rural roads, and during extremely low temperatures when salt is less effective.
Report damage from snow clearing
Residents may report damage to private property, including mailboxes and lawns, caused by a snowplow by contacting ServiceNorfolk at 519-426-5870 or 226-NORFOLK, extension 4636 (INFO), or completing a service request online.
Norfolk County does not replace or repair damaged property-owner-installed landscaping on Norfolk County’s road allowance. Residents are encouraged to contact ServiceNorfolk at 519-426-5870 or 226-NORFOLK, extension 4636 (INFO), for more information before repair work is done.
Norfolk County’s Snow and Ice Removal By-Law requires property owners or occupants to clear sidewalks beside their property of both snow and ice by noon following a snow event.
Failing to clear sidewalks can result in a charge under the By-Law. If a by-law officer determines a sidewalk has not been cleared of snow and ice, an order to do so within 24 hours will be issued. If still not done after that time, By-Law may hire a contractor to clear the sidewalk and will add the cost of that work to the property owner’s tax bill, which can be very expensive.
Residents can report a sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow or ice within the timeframe of the Snow and Ice Removal By-Law by using the By-Law complaint Form or calling 519-426-5870 or 226-NORFOLK. Complaints will be investigated by the By-Law team.
Help with shoveling
The following local agencies may provide assistance to residents.
Trails and pathways
Norfolk’s trails and pathways are not maintained during winter. Residents use at their own risk and should be aware that trails may have a build-up of ice that could pose a risk to walk or ride on.
Removing parked vehicles from the street
Norfolk County’s Parking Bylaw requires parked vehicles to be moved off the road during and after snowfalls and winter storms or when a significant weather event is declared to allow Norfolk’s snowplows and sanders to clear the entire road surface and apply salt or sand, as required.
Vehicles parked on roads when winter weather is expected may be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense, regardless of actual snowfall volume. The fine amount is $75, and towing charges can cost several hundred dollars more.
Environment and Climate Change Canada issues Winter Weather and Cold Alerts across Canada.
Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chills create an increased risk to health, such as frostbite and hypothermia. Risks are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter and clothing.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has a Cold Alert Response Plan when Environment Canada sends a notification that our region is under a cold weather alert or an extreme cold weather warning.
The threshold triggers for these alerts are:
- A Cold Weather Alert is to be issued when the Environment Canada notification indicates the temperature is expected to fall to/below minus 15°C without windchill.
- An Extreme Cold Warning is issued when the temperature or wind chill is expected to reach minus 30°C for at least two hours.
Check Environment and Climate Change Canada’s website for information on local forecasts and weather alerts, or download their mobile app, WeatherCAN, which provides weather alert notifications in your area, as well as in your saved locations.