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Ontario: Hwy. 401 re-opens near Kingston after major, deadly pileup

Monday, December 2nd 2019, 11:00 am - Travel was treacherous across southern Ontario on Sunday amid widespread freezing rain, ice pellets, and heavy snow.

Freezing rain warnings wound down across southwestern Ontario Sunday afternoon. Still, the damage had already been done after 10+ hours of icy precipitation left a thick glaze over much of the region and made for dangerous travel conditions. Farther east, snowfall warnings lingered into the evening along the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where a massive pileup closed Highway 401 and left at least one person dead.

Ontario Provincial Police said the wreck happened around 2:30 p.m. near Kingston, amid heavy snow. In a statement to CBC News, Kingston General Hospital reported 15 to 20 people had been transported to the hospital, "most of whom have non-life-threatening injuries." Police also raised their initial estimate on the number of vehicles involved, saying as many as 30 to 40 were caught in the wreck.

The OPP has confirmed at least one person died in the pileup. Local media reported police were moving stranded travellers off the highway using Kingston Transit buses. The highway re-opened by about 4:30 on Monday morning after being closed for much of the night on Sunday, with the cause of Sunday's crash under investigation.

At least two others have died on the roads amid Sunday's foul weather. OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said on Twitter a fatal crash on the eastbound QEW in the Jordan Road area of the Niagara region Sunday morning, amid freezing rain, killed one woman. Schmidt also said there had been "about 500 crashes in the GTA in the past 24 hours."

Chatham OPP also reported an early-morning fatal crash on the 401 near Orford Road.

Freezing rain fell atop a layer of ice pellets for parts of the Golden Horseshoe, leaving untreated roads and walkways treacherous. In the skies, Pearson Airport reported at least a quarter of flights are delayed, with several arrivals and departures cancelled outright. Across the province, approximately 80,000 Hydro One customers were without power at the height of the storm, as ice-laden tree branches came down on power lines. Mississauga, Burlington, and some other municipalities cancelled Santa Claus parades that had been scheduled for Sunday.

STRANDED DRIVERS ON HIGHWAY 401 NEAR KINGSTON SUNDAY

WATCH BELOW: SCIENCE BEHIND FREEZING RAIN: HOW IT FORMS AND WHY IT'S SO DANGEROUS

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