A winter storm brought heavy snow and freezing rain to Toronto on Wednesday and into Thursday, leaving cancelled flights, slippery roads and vehicle crashes in its wake.
Environment Canada said 10 centimetres of snow fell at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. The federal weather agency said 15 centimetres was reported in Brampton, 16 centimetres in Oakville and 15 centimetres in Whitby over that same time period.
The forecast had called for between 15 to 20 centimetres to fall in the Greater Toronto Area.
An additional two to four centimetres could fall in the GTA between 8 p.m. and early Thursday, according to the federal weather agency.
“It was a significant event,” Yoseph Mengesha, severe weather meteorologist for Environment Canada, told us on Wednesday night.
“It covered quite a wide area, all the way from Windsor into Ottawa.”
The federal weather agency said the snow is expected to taper off to flurries by this morning.
Hundreds of flights cancelled at Pearson
Pearson Airport reported on its website that more than 26 per cent of its departures and more than 27 per cent of its arrivals were cancelled by airlines on Wednesday.
“Delays and cancellations are expected so please check your flight status with your airline,” the airport said.
According to the Ontario Provincial Police, plows and salting trucks were out in force but the difficult conditions led to crashes.
“We have problems really all across the GTA,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said on Twitter.
Schmidt reported a transport truck jackknifed on Highway 400 southbound, near King Road, blocking three left lanes on Wednesday evening.
Toronto police reported scores of minor crashes and urged drivers to slow down, use extra caution and leave extra time to get to their destinations.
“There are plows and salters out on the roadways, but we are receiving a significant amount of reports of minor collisions, people sliding through intersections or sliding down or being stuck on hills within the city,” Const. Laura Brabant said.
Brabant said police had been asking everyone to stay home if they can unless it is an emergency. If residents do have to go out, they are urged to make sure their vehicles are fit for the road.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also urged people to stay at home on Wednesday, saying on Twitter: “Please avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.”
Line 3 and 41 bus stops out of service, TTC says
Meanwhile, GO Transit says it was operating on “a reduced and adjusted schedule to ensure reliability and safety for passengers.”
The TTC said that the storm was “likely to make surface travel challenging.”
Line 3, also known as the Scarborough SRT, was closed. Shuttle buses were operating between Kennedy and McCowan stations.
The TTC also said that 41 bus stops located in hilly areas that are “difficult for buses to navigate in snow” had been taken out of service as of 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
School buses cancelled in York, Halton regions on Thursday
The public school boards in York and Halton regions, as well as the Catholic board in York, said school buses are cancelled for Thursday but schools will remain open.
At YRDSB, in-person exams will not occur on Jan 26, but virtual school exams continue as scheduled.