Southern Ontario: Snow squalls could result in reduced visibility Wednesday night
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:43 -
The official start to spring is less than three weeks away, but try telling that to Ontarians who continue to deal with below seasonal temperatures and snow.
2014 SPRING OUTLOOK: Any hope for spring? More details on the months ahead.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement early Wednesday warning of snow squalls in the Niagara, Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville areas.
The squalls started moving into the region Wednesday afternoon.
The Halton and Niagara regions along the QEW stand to be impacted the most, with activity picking up in the Hamilton region Wednesday evening.
Significant snowfall amounts are not expected, but reduced visibilities in the most intense lake effect bands are possible.
As a result, motorists are urged to be prepared and adjust any travel plans if necessary.
The harsh winter weather has been relentless this year.
The city of Toronto has already broken the record (81 days) for days with continuous snow cover (currently 87 and counting), a record set back in the winter of 1977-78.
On an average year, the city sees 78 cm of snow and so far this winter, over 100 cm has already fallen.
In addition to the snow, the temperatures this winter have averaged out below normal as well.
"We have ranked now officially as the third coldest winter in the last 50 years," says Weather Network chief meteorologist Chris Scott.
The harsh winter conditions are not only testing the patience of many Ontarians, they're also doing on a number on city roads and infrastructure.
POTHOLES AND WATER PROBLEMS
"To date, our figures are running in excess of about 50,000 pothole repairs to the end of the month of February and that includes January and February's repairs," says Peter Noehammer, Director of Transportation Services in Toronto. "And to this time last year that compares to a number of 19,000 so we're running about more than two and a half times the number of pothole repairs we've made this winter compared to last winter."
Officials say the extreme cold temperatures are to blame.
When temperatures go up, water can seep through the cracks and as it refreezes when temperatures go back down, it expands and lifts the asphalt underneath.
"By letting us know where the potholes are we can get out and fix them so we do appreciate that and they can do that by calling 311 and simply being specific as to where the pothole is," Noehammer says.
The prolonged cold temperatures are affecting water services as well.
"The City has hired contractors to help Toronto Water staff thaw frozen underground water pipes, and is making arrangements to purchase more thawing equipment," said city officials in a statement.
ANY HOPE FOR SPRING?
Check out The Weather Network's 2014 Spring Outlook.