Jill Colton, staff writer
January 16, 2011 — An Alberta clipper tracked through Ontario on Saturday and it brought a decent shot of snow for the second weekend in a row.
This time, it wasn't a surprise. Another round of snowy weather roared across the region.
Just over a week ago, an unexpected 17 cm was dumped on Toronto, giving the city its heaviest snowfall in two years. Snow reappeared during the week and caused a mess on the roads. And on Saturday, a similar scene played out.
“It's a big change for people in places like Toronto and Hamilton, where a week ago these places hadn't seen more than 2 cm of snow at any given time in the last year or more,” says Chris Scott, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
The low swept across Ontario and first dropped snow over southwestern and south-central sections of the province. Flurries then spread over eastern Ontario, including Ottawa.
“It's a quick mover and that's why it's called a clipper. It hits hard, it hits quick,” says Scott.
That was the case for places in the central portion of the province. Nearly 15 cm blanketed Trenton while Sault Ste. Marie saw a good swath of snow with 11 cm. Toronto only saw 5 cm, but it was enough to cause chaos for drivers.
Ontario Provincial Police reported hundreds of crashes on Greater Toronto Area highways. Most were minor accidents involving vehicles sliding into each other. According to Sgt. Dave Woodford, there was nearly one collision for every two minutes during the rush-hour period. By Saturday afternoon, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) had already fielded 1,500 calls in southern Ontario, and wait times were estimated to be between 45 to 60 minutes. Most of the calls were for tows.
After the snow, comes the cold. “Behind the system we'll see decent wind gusts of up to 60 km/h. This will help blow the snow around, leading to white-out conditions on the roads,” explains Dayna Vettese, another meteorologist here at The Weather Network.
“Sunday conditions will be a lot more frigid with the windchill making it feel closer to -20 in some areas, so be sure to bundle up.”
In preparation, the City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert to help get the homeless off the streets.
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 through the stormy weather.
With files from Andrea Stockton and Lisa Varano