Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer
December 8, 2010 — Snow squalls have been blowing across much of Ontario over the past couple of days, but the city of London has been hit especially hard.
Four days and counting. People in London, Ontario are trying to cope with one of their worst snow storms in decades. Squalls have been directly targeting the city since Sunday. As a result, more than 95 cm of snow has fallen locally - and there's still more to come.
“We could easily see another 35 cm or more of additional snowfall in and around London through Wednesday,” says Brian Owsiak, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “That means another day of digging out and tricky driving conditions.”
Getting around the city is next to impossible, especially since London Transit services have been suspended.
“We called an end to service at 3 o'clock [Tuesday],” says Larry Ducharme, General Manager with London Transit. “And given the expectation that this severe weather is going to continue and not going to move off, we've decided that for Wednesday rather than start, we will not be providing service to give us the chance to rest our drivers and get our buses back in order for full service on Thursday.”
Sergeant Dave Rektor with the Ontario Provincial Police said conditions on the roads have been “extremely dicey.” He adds, ”the London area has been hit really hard with snowstorms all day long...We've had whiteout conditions, blowing snow and drifting snow making travel throughout the London area and just on the outskirts extremely treacherous.”
O.P.P. have responded hundreds of calls about accidents since Sunday. On Wednesday, a massive pile-up occurred on the west-bound 401 near Woodstock, Ontario. Snow squalls were rolling across the region at the time.
On Tuesday, London's Mayor Joe Fontana nearly called a state of emergency for the city. He has requested that fire, police, EMC, hospitals and the city's hydro department limit their services to critical functions only.
“What we're asking people to do is stay home,” says Fontana. That will give city crews a chance to remove snow from main and local roads. “But more importantly we're asking especially the young people that are home from university, college and from the high schools to essentially start knocking on doors to make sure their neighbours are fine, that if they need their medicines, or if they need a bit of help or if they need a bit of food, that we're there because that's what London is all about.”
Schools were closed right across the London region again on Wednesday, and classes and exams at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College were cancelled.
December 7 holds some significance when it comes to snow storms in London. The last time the city was hit with this much snow was December 7, 2006. The highest 24-hour snow fall ever recorded in London was December 7, 1977.
London is a city in southwestern Ontario, located about 191 km west of Toronto.
To stay up-to-date on the current weather conditions in London, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune in to The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top of bottom of every hour. Kelly Noseworthy is also broadcasting live from London, Ontario today.
Wondering what to expect this winter? Check out The Weather Network's Winter Outlook 2010 / 2011.
With files from Andrea Stockton