Blowing snow contributes to multi-vehicle accidents, highway closures across Ontario
Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:19 -
TUNE IN: We'll have up-to-the-minute updates on this system as it moves through Ontario through the day.
Blowing snow made for perilous driving across southern Ontario Saturday morning.
Several provincial roads were closed, including a stretch of Highway 401 in Cobourg due to a multi-vehicle pile-up, while on Highway 400, police had to rescue more than 400 people stranded in their vehicles due to white-out conditions.
They were taken to warming centres in Orangeville, Shelburne and Honeywood late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Police also poor weather may have been a factor in a fatal collision Friday night on Highway 26.
"Dangerous road conditions continue this morning across southern Ontario, with many road closures," Weather Network meteorologist Gina Ressler said early Saturday morning.
Winds gusted 75-95 km/h overnight, and although the winds weren't quite as bad in the morning, forecasters were warning against unnecessary traffic until later in the day.
Generally 5-10 cm of snow for Southern Ontario today - but it's the winds and the blowing snow that will cause the problems. #onstorm— Natalie Thomas (@NatalieTWN) January 25, 2014
"Low visibility with lake-enhanced snow along the north shore of Lake Ontario is expected this morning before winds shift from southwesterly to northwesterly," Ressler said. "After the front moves through, lake effect snow will develop off of Lake Huron."
A special weather statement from Environment Canada covered much of southern Ontario, warning of the blowing snow, while full-fledged blowing snow and snow squall warnings were in effect across parts of southern Ontario and the Kingston areas.
Forecasters say those parts of the province are in for the most amounts of snow.
Ressler says the next clipper will bring general amounts of around 5 cm more snow to southern Ontario on Sunday.
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Collisions on major highways
Numerous collisions were blamed on the poor road conditions, including a massive pile-up on Highway 401 east of Toronto.
Ontario Provincial Police say around 40 vehicles were involved in collisions in the Brighton area, including one incident involving up to 20 vehicles. Five people were sent to hospital.
Eastbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed while the OPP investigated, as well as eastbound lanes in the Port Hope area due to a collision. One injury was reported from that incident.
Weather Network reporter Arda Ocal was in Port Hope on Saturday, where he warned viewers of the poor road conditions:
Those weren't the only highway closures in the region Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, Ontario's transportation ministry still listed numerous closures, including parts of the 401 east of Windsor.
Highways being closed north-west of the GTA due to poor road conditions. High winds, lots of blowing snow. Dangerous conditions.— Beat the Traffic (@BTT_GTA) January 25, 2014
Temperatures were frigid Saturday morning, but still felt better than the previous day, when strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h in some areas made it feel much colder.
Wind chill warnings were widespread in the province Friday, with the temperatures feeling colder than -30.
The City of Toronto cancelled an extreme cold weather alert on Friday after it had been in effect for four days, but reissued it on Saturday morning.
With files from the Canadian Press.