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Whiteout conditions hit parts of Ontario

Staff writers

April 25, 2012 — Winter made a comeback in parts of Ontario on Monday and for some, the travel misery continued Tuesday.

Additional snow expected Tuesday
Additional snow expected Tuesday

To call it a 'rude awakening' may have been a bit of an understatement. After a nearly non-existent winter and a heatwave in March, many Ontarians found themselves coping with a mix of snow, rain and damaging winds on Monday.

For some areas, the wintery conditions continued through the overnight hours causing poor driving conditions north of Toronto.

"Places like Orangeville and Guelph saw between 10-20 cm of snow pile up," says Gina Ressler, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "The heavy snow combined with powerful winds reduced visibilities significantly."

Flesherton saw 25 cm, and Shelburne saw 30 cm pile up by Tuesday morning. Algonquin received a slightly less - but nonetheless significant - snowfall with 13 cm hitting the ground by Tuesday morning.

Provincial police issued a travel advisory early Tuesday urging drivers to avoid all rural routes in Dufferin County. While most major routes have been cleared, officials say drifting and blowing snow has made back roads impassable.

Several school buses in the region cancelled services on Tuesday.

Peak wind gusts on Monday
Peak wind gusts on Monday

Wet snow fell periodically in the Toronto area Monday, but it was mostly heavy rain that soaked the region.

"The ground was just too warm for any snow to actually accumulate," says Ressler.

This type of weather may seem unusual, but forecasters at The Weather Network say it has happened before.

"Snow at this time of the year doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen," explains Chris Scott, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. "All the way back to 1976, it actually snowed in Toronto and stuck to the ground on May 7th."

The same storm brought snow to the northeastern United States, damaging winds to Quebec and a drenching of rain to the Maritimes.

Conditions are expected to improve in Ontario through the day on Tuesday as the system exits through the evening hours.

"By Wednesday, temperatures will rise to seasonal values," says Ressler.

Be sure to check your local forecast and the Alerts section of the website before heading out.

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