Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer
January 12, 2011 — Parts of southern Ontario were blasted with heavy snow Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The result was a messy commute in the Greater Toronto Area.
It was just this past weekend when the first significant blast of winter hit the Greater Toronto Area. Then, another system moved in on Tuesday giving drivers across Ontario a lot to contend with.
“Windsor and Leamington were some of the first communities that saw accumulations with around 5 cm recorded before 6 p.m. on Tuesday,” says Patrick Cool, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
By the evening drive home from work, motorists in the Hamilton and Niagara regions began to see deteriorating conditions as well. Slushy and partially snow covered roads were reported. While snow removal crews got a head start on the storm, numerous accidents still took place on the Wednesday morning commute.
Between 5 and 10 cm was recorded in the city of Toronto. Not a huge amount, but enough to cause traffic delays in the morning hours. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) received over 800 phone calls from around the GTA. Meanwhile, places including Brampton, Hamilton and Grimsby saw more than 10 cm of snow. The most impressive numbers came from St. Catharines however, where nearly 25 cm fell by Wednesday afternoon.
Motorists are reminded to make sure vehicles were winter-ready by keeping a snow brush handy and topping up windshield wiper fluid. Sergeant Tim Ralph with Toronto Traffic Services says that drivers need to pack plenty of patience when road conditions are slick.
“Know when you're out there driving, patience isn't just a virtue, it's a requirement under the Highway Traffic Act,” Ralph says.
Although most of the snow began to taper by Wednesday afternoon, snow squall activity is still possible along the southern shores of Lake Huron in communities such as Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent through Thursday. The strong northerly winds could result in whiteout conditions on the roads.
Conditions are expected to improve over the next couple of days before another system moves in just in time for the weekend. As a result, city crews are making the necessary preparations.
“We're expecting another 5 to 10 cm on Saturday and on the weekend so we're anticipating getting out there again,” says Peter Noehammer, Director of Transportation Services with the City of Toronto. “So we'll be undertaking a limited amount of snow removal in the days following today [Wednesday], just to create a little more capacity to plow snow to the side of the street in anticipation of more snowfall coming.”
For a closer look at the road conditions in your area, be sure to head to the Highway Conditions Map. You can also receive updates to your cell phone, which could help keep you prepared throughout the stormy weather.
With files from Andrea Stockton