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Southern Ontario digs out from major snowfall


Click on the photo to see GTA snow pictures and videos - including The Weather Network's Suzanne Leonard making a snow angel
Click on the photo to see GTA snow pictures and videos - including The Weather Network's Suzanne Leonard making a snow angel

Lisa Varano and Jill Colton, staff writers

January 9, 2011 — The Greater Toronto Area is cleaning up after its heaviest snowfall in two years.

Easterly winds off Lake Ontario brought major snowfall accumulations to the Greater Toronto Area. (Click to enlarge.)
Easterly winds off Lake Ontario brought major snowfall accumulations to the Greater Toronto Area. (Click to enlarge.)

The Greater Toronto Area is a mess of slushy streets and sidewalks as lake-effect snow has covered the region in a heavy blanket.

From Friday to Saturday, 17 cm of snow fell in the GTA. The last time Pearson airport saw more than 15 cm of snow was over two years ago.

Although the snow ended on Saturday in Toronto, where a snowfall record was broken for January 8, it continued for some other areas. The lake-effect snow machine geared up again, particularly east of Lake Huron.

Snow squalls were tapering off by Sunday afternoon, as bands weakened and shifted, but a few more centimetres of snow is still possible by Monday in southwestern Ontario.

The weekend snow was a challenge for drivers in southern Ontario. Snowplows and salters were on the highways to clear up any potential dangers in Toronto. Visibility on roads became low, and conditions turned slippery. Several accidents and cars driving off roads in the heavy snow were reported.

It's always recommended that you slow down and keep your distance from other vehicles in this type of weather. Sergeant Tim Ralph with Toronto Traffic Services says that motorists 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.”

Sunday snow in southwestern Ontario
Sunday snow in southwestern Ontario

Motorists are reminded to make sure vehicles are winter-ready by keeping a snow brush handy and topping up windshield wiper fluid.

Snow also covered southern Ontario on Thursday evening, when a fast-moving Alberta Clipper swept through the region. A number of accidents were reported across the GTA while the snow was falling on major highways. And earlier in the week, messy weather shut down part of Highway 400 after a tractor trailer fish-tailed and crashed into a guard rail.

High pressure was building on Sunday, but with the drier weather, comes colder air. “The snow has eased, but Ontarians should continue to bundle up as temperatures will remain cold,” says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

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

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