Alexandra Pope, staff writer
February 2, 2011 — It wasn't quite “Snowmageddon,” but it brought the workday to a near-standstill.
“Snowprah.” “Snowtorious B.I.G.” “Snow big deal?”
Although some claimed it didn't live up to the hype, the massive storm that swept through southern Ontario on Groundhog Day was enough to make many people hope that predictions for an early spring would come true.
Although snowfall totals throughout the region were lower than the 30 cm initially expected, the 15 cm that did fall in most cities, combined with gusting winds, brought the workday to a near-standstill.
Schools across southern Ontario were closed.
At Pearson Airport, some 300 flights were cancelled, making Wednesday the biggest day for cancellations so far this winter.
Airport officials said most travellers heeded the forecast and simply stayed home, although some international travellers were caught unawares.
It was also a messy day on the roads. A downed hydro pole forced the closure of a section of the Gardiner Expressway Wednesday morning.
Police say wind may have knocked the pole over, causing live wires to fall onto the highway. The road was reopened later in the morning.
As of Wednesday afternoon, most major routes through southern Ontario, including the 400-series highways, were still partially snow-covered or slushy. Poor visibility also forced the closure of sections of Highways 6, 9 and 21 through southwestern Ontario.
By Wednesday afternoon, CAA had received almost 800 calls, and members were waiting up to 120 minutes for assistance in places like Hamilton and Windsor.
OPP had cautioned drivers on Tuesday to avoid unnecessary travel.
Although the roads were a writeoff, the rails were running smoothly. GO Transit operated on an adjusted schedule that saw express trains making all stops, and Via Rail reported no cancellations or major delays.
With files from the Canadian Press.