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Ice storm results in dangerous driving, flight delays in southern Ontario

Staff writers

April 12, 2013 — For the second day in a row, drivers in southern Ontario are dealing with slick and treacherous driving conditions. Several bus cancellations and flight delays reported Friday.

Ice accretion brought down trees in Kitchener
Ice accretion brought down trees in Kitchener

From rain to freezing rain, snow and ice pellets. A powerful spring storm creates travel chaos and thousands of power outages across southern Ontario.

A slow moving low pressure system pushed in from the south and combined with cold Arctic air to produce a wintery mess Thursday.

"This is a bit of an usual storm because it's the middle of April and we're dealing with winter conditions," says Storm Hunter Mark Robinson, who was out in the thick of the storm Thursday. "We've been dealing with ice pellets, snow, freezing rain, rain...There's also been some serious accretion of ice thanks in part to the freezing temperatures and big pulses of moisture." 

The weather promoted several school districts across the region to cancel buses for the second day in a row. 

Officials at Toronto's Pearson International Airport are urging travellers to call ahead as the poor weather conditions could affect flight times. Hundreds of flights in and out of Pearson were cancelled on Thursday.

Heavy snow forecast in eastern Ontario, southern Quebec Friday
Heavy snow forecast in eastern Ontario, southern Quebec Friday

Widespread power outages have also been reported with this storm due to significant ice accumulation combined with powerful northeast winds gusting to 80 km/h. 

At one point, more than 150,000 customers were without power

Camera operator Mark Rozitis was in Kitchener, where heavy freezing rain and ice laden power lines were seen swaying severely in the wind. 

"I've never seen this type of high tension power line sway like this before," he said Thursday. 

Crews are continuing to work to restore power across the region Friday, but officials are warning that power may not be fully restored until Sunday. 

"It's important to note that when we do have power outages, we prioritize the restoration work so that we restore the power to the most amount of customers as soon as possible and then we work from there," explains Nancy Shaddick with Hydro One. 

Are we done with winter yet?

"The freezing rain risk will slowly subside across southern Ontario through the afternoon hours Friday," says Gerald Cheng, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Temperatures will continue to rise, the winds will ease and conditions should improve through the weekend." 

Cheng adds that snow and ice will continue to impact places like Ottawa and Montreal as the system pushes east.

"These kinds of storms are pretty rare in April and looking at the long range, conditions do start to improve," says Cheng. "There's another cold front that could bring scattered showers to some places on Tuesday, but temperatures should remain in the double digits."

Be sure to plan your trip ahead of time using an advisor like The Travelers Network

Tweet your storm updates to @weathernetwork using the hashtags #onstorm and #twn.

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