January 14, 2012 — Rain, freezing rain and snow. Residents in Ontario saw a bit of everything on this week.
Rain began falling in parts of southern Ontario Wednesday night while areas farther east had freezing rain to contend with Thursday.
“[We've had] freezing rain all day and [it's] snowing now,” said a Facebook fan from Brockville. In fact, there was enough ice for some residents in the area to lace up their skates and glide over driveways and parking lots.
Icy conditions were reported in Kingston as well. Several trees snapped under the pressure and weight of the ice, causing widespread power outages across the region. At the peak of the storm, Hydro One reported 19,000 customers without power in eastern Ontario.
Conditions on the roads deteriorated quickly and at one point the 401 was closed in both directions between Joyceville Road and Highway 15 due to a serious collision.
Most of the rain in southern Ontario transitioned over to snow through the overnight hours on Thursday as temperatures began to plummet. Several places reported poor and dangerous driving conditions early Friday morning.
The GTA only saw about 6 cms of snow, but slippery conditions combined with brisk winds and light snow was enough to catch some commuters off guard Friday morning.
Police say in just an hour's time, they responded to over 60 crashes across the Greater Toronto Area. A six-vehicle pile-up also shut down the eastbound lane of the 401 at Dundas Street in Woodstock.
CAA South Central Ontario also reported that they responded to 3,200 service calls on Friday.
GO Transit faced delays because of the weather with many routes running 20 to 30 minutes late.
In eastern and northern Ontario, messy roads led to travel woes.
Ottawa police reported several accidents throughout the day, and school buses were pulled off the roads as conditions got worse. Some departing flights were also cancelled because of the wintery weather.
“I was supposed to fly down to Washington and all flights are cancelled,” said one traveller affected by the storm. “So I'm stuck in Ottawa, but at least I have a little more time to see the city.”
Several places, including the London-Stratford, Goderich and Barrie-Collingwood areas saw additional snow from heavy snow squalls on Friday night.
Some localized snow was still falling on Saturday morning, but the big concern for the rest of the weekend will be frigid weather. By noon, temperatures were hovering around -13 in Toronto without windchill.
“Behind that system is the wind, leaving the cold weather,” explains Martin Belanger, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “We're expecting much colder temperatures and windchill values for the weekend.”
An extreme cold weather alert was issued for the city of Toronto as temperatures plunge.
Make sure to check out the Alerts section of our website for the latest weather alerts in your area.