Blizzard conditions, plunging temperatures create 'road weather nightmare' in Ontario
Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 2:16 PM -
STORM WATCH: Tune into The Weather Network on TV for the latest coverage of this storm.
Many Ontarians may be asking, is this Mother Nature's idea of a cruel trick?
By Wednesday afternoon, southern Ontario was in the thick of a snow storm that started during the early morning hours.
"The worst of the storm is happening now," said Weather Network meteorologist Elena Lappo Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST.
"This will continue for another 2-3 hours before tapering a bit. However, snow and blowing snow will continue into the evening."
Hydro One has reported approximately 6,000 outages in southern Ontario.
Multiple accidents have been reported as the storm kicked into high gear.
"Non stop problems with spun out vehicles, vehicles into guardrails and vehicles into ditches," Beat the Traffic tweeted.
"If you don't have to travel stay home."
The current conditions are a far cry from Tuesday, where several areas enjoyed a taste of spring with mild temperatures and sunny skies.
"Parts of southwestern Ontario saw some rain fall through the overnight hours, which was a precursor to the heavy snow that moved in Wednesday," says Brett Soderholm, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
Snow began to stick to the ground in parts of southern Ontario in time for the morning commute and conditions will continue to worsen throughout the day.
"Roads are deceivingly slick this morning in the City of Guelph as the Ontario storm continues to ramp up," tweeted Colin Richardson early Wednesday. "Give yourself lots of extra time and be safe."
A winter storm warning covers southwestern Ontario, the Niagara region and into eastern Ontario as well.
"The snow will become heavy at times and continue east into the Kingston to Cornwall region through the day with total snowfall amounts of 15 to 25 cm expected by tonight," warns Environment Canada in the statement.
Snowfall will be somewhat less from southern Lake Huron across the Greater Toronto Area to Ottawa, where up to 15 cm is possible.
In addition, strong northeasterly winds with gusts up to 70 to 80 km/h could result in near blizzard conditions in some places.
Motorists are urged to prepare for dangerous driving conditions and adjust any travel plans as necessary.
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The good news? Many students are on March Break this week, so that means schools and buses won't be affected by this storm.
Still, police are telling drivers to slow down after a number of accidents were reported early Wednesday. A portion of Highway 401 was also closed due to a jackknifed trailer.
Perth County OPP said they had already responded to a number of minor collisions as well.
EXTENDED: Police on scene after two vehicles smashed into each other in Markham, Ont. pic.twitter.com/8mdsRRq188— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) March 12, 2014
Those with air travel plans are advised to call ahead, as some airlines have issued weather advisories.
Several flights were cancelled at Toronto's Pearson airport Wednesday morning, with more delays and cancellations expected through the day.
"Although the snow will begin to die down later this afternoon, gusty winds could still be a factor through the evening and overnight hours," warns Soderholm. " Temperatures will also be falling significantly and the windchill could make it feel like the mid -20s in some places Wednesday night."
That prompted the City of Toronto to issue an extreme cold weather alert Wednesday morning.
It is still winter after all, with the official start to spring not until next Thursday, March 20.