Jan 17, 2022
By Jane Brown
Toronto and other areas of southern Ontario are under blizzard warnings, with up to 60-centimetres of snow expected to fall by the end of the day.
The previous greatest snowfall record for Toronto on January 17th was in 1994 when 7.6 centimetres of snow fell. The previous record for most snow on the ground on January 17th was in 1999, where there were 55 centimetres of snow measured. That was the January that then Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman called in the army.
Visibility was down to zero in some regions this morning.
Dozens of flights out of Toronto’s Pearson airport have been delayed or cancelled.
Snow plows were out early this morning, primarily on the main streets, but it will be an all day operation and into tomorrow before all the snow is cleared from roadways.
OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt calls it a critical driving event.
“We’ve got a major winter storm going here right now and you’ve just got to understand that there’re limits to what your vehicle can do, with traction control, with anti-locks and all of the safety systems, and snow tires. You may still very well be stuck and if you’re not, you’re probably going to be stuck in front of the person who is,” Schmidt explained during the morning drive.
At about 10:30 this morning, Toronto Police took the unprecedented step of closing both the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway so snow plows could properly clear the roadways.
The hazardous conditions on the roads are also creating problems for many transit agencies today, including GO Transit. Multiple GO bus routes have been temporarily suspended or adjusted this morning.
The significant snowfall has also prompted staff at school boards across the GTA to delay the return of in-person learning, with the exception of elementary schools in Durham region which ARE open today.
In addition, in person classes have been cancelled at some post secondary institutions, including Ryerson, U of T’s Mississauga Campus and Sheridan College.
And all COVID 19 vaccine appointments in Durham and Peel regions have been cancelled.
The storm hitting southern Ontario and Quebec is part of a major system sweeping up from the United States.
South of the border, 30 centimetres of snow is forecast for parts of New England, New York state, Ohio and Pennsylvania and nearly 75-thousand customers in the region were without power as of this morning.