Say it ain't snow: Blowing snow, high winds and slick, greasy roads as snow continues to fall
A pedestrian bundles up while trudging through blowing snow on Yonge St. Approximately 8 cm of snow had fallen in the downtown by midday, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips.RANDY RISLING/TORONTO STAR
In a move not often taken after March Break, the Toronto Catholic District School Board cancelled all night school classes Wednesday, including English As A Second Language for adults, due to bad weather, although evening courses at the Toronto District School Board were on as usual.
It’s one of the ways the city scrambled to cope with a surprise blast of winter weather — including blowing snow, high winds and slick, greasy roads — that forced drivers to take it slow during the afternoon commute.
Varying reports, ranging between 6-10 cm of snow, have fallen in the city today, and Environment Canada expects an additional 2-4 cm as flurries are expected to continue off and on until midnight.
By the end of the snow dump, western parts of the GTA, including Oakville and Burlington, could see as much as 20 cm of the white stuff.
The spring snowfall is making for treacherous driving conditions: Police and emergency personnel have been busy throughout the day responding to fender benders all over the city. Toronto police said there have “easily been dozens” of minor accidents, though no serious injuries have been reported.
Winds near Pearson International Airport were gusting around 46 km/h Wednesday, said Geoff Coulson, meteorologist with Environment Canada, and causing “major” problems with blowing snow.
In Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton winds are gusting up to 60 km/h.
“It’s that additional factor with the wind. It’s not quite a white out, but still much reduced visibility with snow and blowing snow,” said Coulson.
Despite road crews treating major thoroughfares, Coulson says secondary roads could still be slippery.
Those travelling towards the south west should take extra care: While Toronto has been getting mostly snow, Kitchener and London have been hit with a mix of snow, ice and rain.
“As slick as our roads may be here, driving conditions there could be even more slippery,” he said.
The winter weather is not uncommon in late March and early April, said Dave Phillips, Environment Canada senior climatologist.
In the last 70 years, there have only been three Aprils without snow in Toronto.
The biggest dump was on April 10, 1939, when 27 cm of snow fell on the city.
“Nature has got the capability to produce these spring surprises, so this is not a shocker and it may not be the last one,” says Phillips.
The latest blast of winter weather is expected to end by midnight.
- Wendy Gillis, Emmanuel Samoglou and Louise Brown