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One man is dead following a multi-vehicle pileup on Ontario's Highway 401, east of Gananoque. The 30-vehicle crash occurred during a powerful winter storm that brought heavy snow and strong winds to the area.
Canadian Weather | Southern Ontario

Highway 401 to reopen after fatal 30-vehicle pileup

Digital writers

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 9:11 PM - Highway 401 in eastern Ontario was poised to reopen late Wednesday after a multi-vehicle collision Tuesday killed one person and sent dozens more to hospital.

Police identified the victim as a 45-year-old truck driver from Hamilton, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

On Wednesday evening, the OPP tweeted that cleanup of the area was going well, with eastbound lanes opening around 9 p.m. and westbound lanes likely opening shortly afterward.

Some of the tractor-trailers involved in the accident were carrying corrosive materials and as a result, the hazardous material unit was called in.

KEEP ON TOP OF ACTIVE WEATHER: Visit the Alerts section of the website

"One of the transports in the primary accident was carrying a hazardous material, which turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat," the Gananoque Police Service wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday. "Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes. This event is a HAZMAT and Mass Casualty Response. Emergency Plans have been activated."

The Kingston hospital received 29 patients from the crash scene, 13 of which were first responders who were treated for exposure to the substance. The OPP say a male driver of one of the tractor-trailers was also taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The site has since been contained and there is no immediate danger to the public, mayor Joe Baptista said in a statement Wednesday morning.

A winter storm warning was in effect at the time, and lingered through to Wednesday afternoon, when all severe weather warnings in southern Ontario were finally dropped.

The snow is expected to ease by Wednesday evening as the low pressure system moves away.

Meanwhile, whiteout conditions continue to plague Quebec, with several multi-vehicle collisions reported, one of which that involved 50 cars. 

KEEP ON TOP OF ACTIVE WEATHER: Visit the Alerts section of the website

Winds out of the northwest in southern Ontario will continue to spark more lake-effect snow into Thursday morning, for areas surrounding the 402 corridor between London and Sarnia.

Forecasters are eyeing a clipper that is expected to bring another round of active weather to southern Ontario for Friday.

Check back for updates as we continue to monitor the forecast.

WATCH BELOW: 'It was shaking the beds', impacts of March nor'easter

SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen

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