Fresh snow, plunging temperatures result in an icy and dangerous commute in Ontario Thursday
Thursday, March 13, 2014, 9:02 AM -
Although spring is just one week away, winter continues to hold the upper hand in Ontario.
"In a shocking contrast to Tuesday's spring-like weather, an intense March storm tracked south of the Great Lakes yesterday and provided yet another wintery reminder of the winter of 2013-2014," said Environment Canada in a weather summary.
Heavy snow, powerful winds and icy road surfaces made for treacherous driving conditions throughout the day.
"Road weather nightmare likely this aft as temps plummet and initial melted snow freezes," The Weather Network's chief meteorologist Chris Scott tweeted.
And that nightmare became a reality for many motorists across the region.
Non stop problems with spun out vehicles, vehicles into guardrails and vehicles into ditches were reported, along with a deadly crash in Oxford County.
At one point, a portion of the eastbound Highway 401 was closed at Highway 403 to Drumbo Road following a multi-vehicle accident involving between 20 and 30 cars.
The snow gradually eased through the evening and overnight hours, but gusty winds and plummeting temperatures resulted in more travel chaos.
"The storm is over, but roads are icy and 20 minutes ago we just had a two car crash right in front of the large sign that reads "Dear Winter, Enough already, It's my turn! From, Spring,'" said camera operator Mark Rozitis who was in Kitchener on Wednesday.
The problems continued early Thursday and police across southern Ontario reported numerous collisions, including one that shut down the westbound lanes of Highway 401 in Mississauga.
"The icy conditions this morning are a result of frigid temperatures," says Monica Vaswani, a meteorologist at The Weather Network "Wind chill warnings are in effect."
"Very cold north to northwest winds in the wake of the snow storm will draw in unseasonably cold air early this morning," said EC in the warning. "As temperatures bottom out near minus 20 or colder in many areas, winds of 20 to 30 km/h will produce wind chill values near minus 30 except near minus 35 just east of Georgian Bay."
As a result, motorists are urged to adjust their driving habits and prepare for a slick and dangerous commute.
BEAT THE TRAFFIC: How will your commute be affected? Rely on Beat the Traffic for real-time traffic updates that matter to you. Visit www.beatthetraffic.com and download the app on iTunes or Google Play and get there sooner!
Another system pushing into the region Thursday night will bring scattered flurries to the Greater Toronto Area and accumulating snow for areas north of Barrie.
"The flurries may linger for Friday morning before changing to a rain/snow mix by the afternoon," says Vaswani. "Sudbury and northward can expected 5-10 cm of snow through Friday."
The good news is temperatures are expected to rise as southwesterly winds pick up on Friday.
Motorists are being reminded to:
- Slow down
- Leave plenty of distance between other vehicles
- Wear a seat belt at all times
- Avoid unnecessary travel
Before you hit the road, make sure you:
- Have an ice scraper or snow brush in your vehicle to keep your windows and lights clear
- Top up your windshield washer fluid
- Keep your fuel tank at least half full to prevent condensation in your gas tank
- Have a fully-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle
Visit the Alerts section of the website to keep on top of watches and warnings across the country.