Lisa Varano, staff writer
November 27, 2010 — Sudden whiteouts produce dangerous winter-like driving conditions in Ontario's snowbelt.
Drivers were urged to be cautious on Ontario roads this past weekend as sudden snow squalls made it impossible to see far ahead.
Strong westerly winds swept cold Arctic air over the warmer waters of the Great Lakes, producing quick bursts of heavy snow on Friday and Saturday.
One of the hardest-hit areas is east of Georgian Bay, where more than 25 cm of snow has fallen.
Cars slipped and slid off the roads in central Ontario during the snow squalls, according to the Canadian Automobile Association, which responds to stranded drivers.
Police closed down roads in areas like Huntsville during periods of blowing snow and reduced visibility.
Beginning on Thursday, a low pressure system tracked across northern Ontario and produced heavy snowfall in such locations as Wawa and Chapleau (24 cm), Sault Ste. Marie and Sioux Lookout (17 cm), and Kenora and Geraldton (16 cm).
As a snowplow was clearing a highway in Trout Creek, it hit an Ontario Provincial Police cruiser and a vehicle that had been involved in an earlier accident.
Police officers are reminding drivers to use common sense. “If the conditions are so bad that you can't see, get off the road. Get off the highway. Go off to a side road, a service centre. Wait it out,” says Sergeant Tim Burrows of Toronto Police Traffic Services.
“There's no sense in trying to rush and put yourself at risk - and others at risk - just because you think you need to drive.”
The Greater Toronto Area was caught in a brief burst of snow extending from Georgian Bay to near Ottawa on Saturday morning. By the afternoon, patchy white spots on the grass were the only signs of snow left in downtown Toronto.
What will winter bring to your area? Find all the details in the Winter Outlook.