Snow falling as Toronto braces for blast of winter weather

toronto-ice-storm - milenio stadium


Most of the Greater Toronto Area is under a snowfall warning Wednesday, with Environment Canada forecasting up to 20 centimetres for the region.

Toronto, Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Barrie and surrounding areas are all under snowfall warnings, with the weather agency telling people to expect “a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas.

“Allow extra time to reach your destination,” Environment Canada said.

Total snowfall accumulations of 15 to 20 centimetres are expected, alongside reduced visibility in heavy snow, with rapidly accumulating snow that will make travel difficult.

“Isolated power outages are possible,” Environment Canada said, adding that people should prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.

Rob Kuhn, a severe weather meteorologist with Environment Canada, says he expects roughly 10 centimetres of snow to fall between noon and 6 p.m. Wednesday, and another 10 centimetres through the evening and overnight into tomorrow.

Metrolinx’s GO Transit says it is operating on “a reduced and adjusted schedule to ensure reliability and safety for passengers,” while Pearson Airport is suggesting travellers check their flight status before leaving for the airport.

The snow is expected to taper off by Thursday morning.

Full cleanup could take days, city says

Crews and contractors with the City of Toronto were out Tuesday night applying liquid brine on highways, bridges, hills and priority intersections, says Vincent Sferrazza, maintenance and operations director with transportation services.

Sferrazza said he expects the storm could necessitate six to eight rounds of plowing on major arterial roads and up to three rounds on local streets.

“This is going to take a few days, going into the weekend,” he says. “It’s all hands on deck, we are ready to go.”

He adds that some snow removal will likely be required as well, particularly for protected bike lanes, streetcar routes, bus stops and pedestrian walkways. That work would begin over the weekend and continue into next week.

“I ask our residents to please be patient. Let our operators get to their beats, let them finish. And then, certainly, they can notify us through 311 to identify any areas that perhaps we may have missed or may need further work,” Sferrazza said.

More snow expected Sunday

In a news release issued Wednesday, City of Toronto officials said plowing will start once the snow reaches 2.5 centimetres on expressways, five centimetres on major roads, transit routes and streets with hills, and eight centimetres on residential streets.

Sidewalk and separated bike lane clearing will start when two centimetres of snow accumulates.

The city also says it is opening three warming centres for people who are experiencing homelessness as of 7 p.m. at the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr., Metro Hall at 55 John St. and Mitchell Field Community Centre at 89 Church Ave.

City officials say they are expecting another five to ten centimetres of snow on Sunday.

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