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Snow squalls and dangerous whiteout conditions resulted in several collisions on Thursday. A 96-car pile-up was reported in the Barrie area.

Snow squalls blamed on multi-vehicle crash in southern Ontario

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, February 28, 2014, 6:49 AM -

Snow squalls wreaked havoc on one of the country's busiest highways Thursday morning, closing lanes in both directions on the 400 highway near Barrie, Ont. following a pileup involving as many as 96 vehicles.

Clean-up took several hours, but both lanes were re-opened by the evening.

Despite the size of the crash officials say only three people had to be taken to hospital, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

UPDATING HIGHWAY CONDITIONS: Check the highway conditions with our updating Highway Conditions map. Click to view

Several highway closures were reported across southwestern Ontario as well, including a shutdown of Highway 402 in Middlesex County and Highway 401 in both directions in Oxford County.

Bitterly cold temperatures exacerbated clean-up efforts, with wind gusts up to 60 km/h and wind chills well into the minus twenties.

The evening commute didn't fare much better than the morning, especially in the Barrie area, with snow squalls continuing to create treacherous conditions.

Despite warnings from officials to slow down and adjust for reduced visibility numerous accidents were reported across the region.

Snow squall watches and warnings covered southern Ontario as drivers were being advised to avoid "non essential" travel.

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