The City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert starting Thursday morning “until further notice.”
The city said snow accumulation across Toronto is currently between 4–7 centimetres with approximately 6.5 centimetres forecast throughout the day, in a release Thursday morning.
The snowfall isn’t much compared to the storm that hit the city two weeks ago, but the fresh snow is landing on large frozen puddles and icy windrows, alike.
There are no reports of school closures and the Toronto District School Board, the region’s largest, confirmed buses are running. The board also warned of potential delays due to weather.
Ontario Provincial Police already warned about at least one vehicle spinning out on Highway 401, near Highway 427, and urged anyone who gets stuck to call 511.
Environment Canada is also warning drivers there could be hazardous conditions.
That said, “the worst has passed,” said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, noting the GTA probably got less snow than was expected.
The TTC said it has shut down Line 3 — the Scarborough RT — during the blast of winter weather “until further notice.” Shuttle buses are running instead of trains. Meanwhile, there’s at least one other detour, so commuters may want to check ahead.
Here’s today’s forecast, according to Environment Canada:
- It will be mainly cloudy with a 40 per cent chance of flurries in the late morning and early afternoon.
- The afternoon could see blowing snow.
- The temperatures will hover around -3 C, with the wind chill making it feel like minus 12.
- The snow (its predictions are we’ll get 4-8 centimetres more on Thursday) will end around midnight.
The city’s four warming centres will open at 7 p.m. and remain open until noon on the day the alert is over.
Salting and plowing on major and local roads are ongoing
Barbara Gray, the city’s transportation manager, urged drivers to take their foot off the gas during the morning commute.
Crews were out overnight, she confirmed, clearing both the new snow and chipping away at the residual ice.
The city’s been conducting “extensive” snow removal in recent weeks, Gray added, with much of the snow being piled up in a large mountain on Transit Road.
That snow removal has been paused while plowing takes precedent today. The city said operations will resume in full scale after plowing has been “substantially completed.”
The city said it has deployed its full fleet of snow-clearing vehicles and equipment in response to the wintry weather Thursday, which includes 600 snow plows, 360 sidewalk plows and 200 salt trucks.
On Wednesday night, city councillors pressed city staff for answers about why it’s taken weeks to deal with the snow from the historic storm that hit Toronto two weeks ago. Many said they’ve faced sharp criticism from the public.
“A lot of people don’t trust the city” when it comes to snow-clearing, Coun. Josh Matlow said during the debate.
A full report on the snow-clearing operations is due next month.