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Snowstorm hits southern Ontario, moves east; difficult travel conditions expected

Click to play video: 'City crews prepare for Toronto’s biggest snowfall of the season so far'
City crews prepare for Toronto’s biggest snowfall of the season so far
WATCH ABOVE: More than 20 cm of snow is expected to fall in Toronto by Thursday. Marianne Dimain reports – Jan 25, 2023

A snowstorm that hit much of southern Ontario on Wednesday created messy travel conditions for the evening commute, with residents warned to take extra precautions on the roads.

Snowfall warnings were in effect for most of southern and eastern Ontario, with Environment Canada predicting up to 20 centimetres of snow in several regions.

The agency warned the rapidly accumulating snow would be heavy at times and cause reduced visibility, making travel difficult and possibly causing isolated power outages.

“The snow started lightly between eight and nine this morning, but the drive home is going to be a definitely a different situation with poor visibilities, maybe even some blowing snow as those east winds start to pick up,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson.

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Evening commuters across southwest, southcentral and even southeast Ontario were expected to be affected as the storm moved northeast, Coulson said. Heavier snow was forecast in eastern regions “towards the tail end of the rush hour,” he said.

Environment Canada forecast up to 20 centimetres of snow for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area as well as eastern regions such as Belleville, Smiths Falls and Cornwall, ending Thursday morning or afternoon.

“Most of the accumulation for Ottawa will take place (Wednesday) evening and overnight, but there still could be some falling snow and accumulating snow Thursday morning into early Thursday afternoon,” Coulson said.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Ottawa International Airport warned travellers to check their flight status before heading for the airport, warning of possible storm-related delays.

Click to play video: 'Major winter storm set to hit southern Ontario'
Major winter storm set to hit southern Ontario

The Toronto Transit Commission said it had taken 41 bus stops out of service until further notice due to severe weather and “icy trouble spots on hills.”

GO Transit, which serves the Greater Golden Horseshoe, adjusted its schedule due to the storm and advised riders to plan for extra travel time and expect delays of up to 20 minutes on several bus routes.

Western regions including Windsor, Niagara and London were forecast to see up to 15 centimetres of snow ending overnight, with a couple additional centimetres possible on Thursday.

Coulson said that by Thursday morning, some areas west of Toronto including Halton, Peel and Hamilton could see up to or just over 25 centimetres of snow, while eastern regions toward Prince Edward County and Kingston could also see accumulations around that amount.

“This continues to be a developing situation for many areas across southern Ontario,” said Coulson, who reminded drivers and those out walking to “take it easy” on the roads and sidewalks.

“We’ve got snow down now in many areas that could be covering some icy patches ? We’ve had a bit of a break from winter, but now we’re getting back into it,” he said.

“It’s time to scrape off the rust from our winter driving skills and also just to be aware of leaving that extra space between vehicles for that extra stopping distance.”

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