Toronto cleans up after blast of winter

Southern Ontario got its first blast of winter yesterday as at least 15 centimetres of snow and rain was dumped on the GTA, but a slight reprieve is in store for today.



"The worst of it is over," confirmed David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.


But that may be a matter of perspective, since today’s forecast calls for rain and wet snow, changing to heavy snow later on. Winds will gust up to 70 km/h and the temperature will drop below zero later today.

The one silver lining? Roads should be relatively clear for the morning commute.

"It will be a dry wind, not a flash freeze," Phillips said. "So you probably won’t be skating into work."

That’s a far cry from yesterday, when Toronto woke up to a slushy, icy and snowy mess.

But it was drivers who paid the price for the weekend weather, and many clearly weren’t ready for the sudden change in seasons — police reported more than 700 collisions on area highways, and another 230 in the city.

It wasn’t just cars and small trucks affected. Four fire trucks and a police car responding to an emergency at the bottom of an inclined cul-de-sac in Etobicoke yesterday ran into a little snow trouble themselves as they tried to leave the area.

For City of Toronto work crews, inside streets and sidewalks are a secondary priority, and usually done after the expressways and major streets are cleared, said Peter Noehammer, the city’s director of transportation services.

"We will be clearing up sidewalks and local streets overnight, and will work until morning," he said, adding the city was prepared for the storm, and dispatched every crew available the moment the storm hit late Saturday, along with 200 salters, 600 street plows, and 300 sidewalk plows.

travel delays

  • Many GO Transit trains and buses, as well as VIA trains, were delayed for up to 45 minutes. Nearly all flights in and out of Pearson airport were delayed.