GTA under winter weather travel advisory as snowstorm arrives

A winter storm is moving through the Greater Toronto Area this afternoon and is expected to dump up to 25 centimeters of snow in some places.

Here’s what you need to know about the blizzard, what to watch for, and when conditions will improve:

THE STORM COMES

The system moved slowly toward the Golden Horseshoe this afternoon, arriving in the GTA around 7 p.m.

“Snow will become heavy quickly at times, before transitioning to periods of rain tonight or early Saturday morning as temperatures rise above freezing,” Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said in its advisories. meteorological

Strong southeasterly winds are also forecast, with gusts of up to 70 km/h, which could significantly reduce visibility.

ALERTS IN EFFECT

Winter Storm Warnings They have been issued for the northern regions of the GTA. Caledon, Newmarket, Uxbridge and the northern regions of York and Durham could see between 10 and 25 centimeters of snow.

ECCC added that three to five centimeters of snow could fall per hour.

Parts of central and southwestern Ontario are also under a winter storm warning.

Meanwhile, a Winter Weather Travel Advisory is in effect in Toronto and the rest of the GTA, with between five and 10 centimeters of snow expected to fall.

“It’s going to be unpleasant, even if only briefly. [in Toronto], with a much longer period in areas such as Caledon, Newmarket and Aurora, Ontario. Those are the areas that are seeing between 15 and 25 centimeters,” said CP24 meteorologist Bill Coulter.

The federal weather agency said travel should be avoided if possible due to dangerous driving conditions.

WHEN THE STORM WILL END

According to ECCC, some areas will see a transition from snow to periods of rain overnight or early Saturday. However, the rain will change to periods of snow later in the morning as cold air moves in.

“In the wake of this system, much colder Arctic air will establish itself across the region,” the ECCC said.

“A multi-day lake effect snow event is expected in locations east of the Great Lakes, resulting in additional snow accumulations in some communities.”

In Toronto, local blowing snow is possible early Saturday afternoon due to strong winds. The city could see an additional two centimeters of snowfall.

Temperatures will drop from a high of 2 C to -2 C in the afternoon with a wind chill of -10 C.

Conditions are expected to improve overnight. Next week temperatures are expected to drop below zero degrees, a low of -7 C on Tuesday.

TRAVEL TO PEARSON

Toronto Pearson International Airport is also monitoring the storm, it said in a tweet Friday.

“We are closely monitoring these weather systems, which have the potential to impact flights arriving and departing Toronto Pearson,” the statement read. “If you are flying today, we recommend checking your flight status online.”

Sean Davidson, spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, advises people traveling to Pearson tonight to arrive as early as possible.

He said travelers should expect delays due to weather.

“We’re just asking people to be a little more patient tonight because we’re dealing with a winter storm,” Davidson said. “But we have all our staff to make sure we can get everyone moving as quickly as possible.”

He noted that the airport has more than 100 high-tech pieces of equipment to ensure that all runways and taxiways are free of snow.

“Of course, it becomes a challenge when it snows because we have to clear that snow. But then when it goes from rain to freezing rain, there are different procedures that our airfield maintenance team has to follow to make sure the airfield remains as it is. as safe as possible for takeoffs and landings, but it is a huge effort,” Davidson said.

HOW TORONTO PREPARES

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) says it is taking proactive steps to get riders to and from their destinations, including deploying additional staff and maintenance vehicles to spread salt, clear snow surfaces, keep signals operational , switches and electrical energy and meet other climatic conditions. -related matters.

The transit agency adds that it will also roll out additional business on a route-by-route basis.

“This strategic measure is intended to preserve service levels in areas where heavy snowfall or other adverse weather conditions result in significant slowdowns, detours or disruptions,” the TTC said.

The agency is also monitoring 56 bus stops that are known to be affected when there is heavy snow or freezing rain.

At a news conference Friday morning, Vincent Sferrazza, director of Toronto Transportation Operations and Maintenance, told reporters that city crews were prepared for “every eventuality.”

“What contributes to the uncertainty or predictability of this particular event is the fact that during the early morning hours we will see quite a bit of precipitation in the form of rain that will result in a lot of mud and more complicated conditions,” he said.

Snow plan

Sferrazza said the city would activate salting operations once the snow starts to stick. If necessary, snow plows will begin plowing main routes when the accumulation is just over two centimeters.

Snow removal will be activated on local roads a little earlier than usual, between two and four centimeters, in an effort to take advantage of the lack of traffic during nighttime hours. Standard protocol is to send snowplows to residential streets only after three inches of snow has fallen.

Snow Plow Toronto

In its advisory, Environment Canada said residents could consider postponing any non-essential travel until conditions improve.

“Motorists should expect hazardous winter driving conditions and adjust their travel plans accordingly. Avoid travel if possible. Use extra caution when walking or driving in affected areas,” he wrote.

Sferrazza reminded residents that if they encounter snow plows on the roads, they should keep their distance.

“It’s dangerous to drive fast or fast around one of those pieces of equipment, and if you have to pass it, do it at the right time and do it slowly,” he said.


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