Hazardous road conditions reported in GTA as ice pellets, snow arrive
Published Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:06AM EST Last Updated Sunday, December 1, 2019 12:13PM EST
TORONTO -- Slippery road conditions have led to numerous collisions across the GTA today as a mix of ice pellets, freezing drizzle, and snow arrive in the region.
Environment Canada says the mixed precipitation is expected to continue throughout the day, creating "hazardous" conditions for motorists across southern and central Ontario.
The national weather agency previously said that some areas could see snow and ice pellet accumulations of between five and 10 centimetres.
Several collisions have been reported across the GTA and Niagara Region, including a fatal crash in the Fort Erie-bound lanes of the QEW near St. Catharines.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt confirmed that at least two dozen collisions are currently on the go on GTA highways alone.
"Today is one of those days… it doesn’t look terrible and that is the danger because when it doesn’t look completely treacherous, people are going to think that it is manageable and they can head out there. But with that freezing ice and those pellets coming down, it can freeze on contact and it can cause a complete skating rink," he said in an update posted on social media.
"Over the next couple of hours, we are going to see these conditions deteriorate even more."
Officers responded to a 12-vehicle crash near Davenport and Avenue roads Sunday morning, and while Toronto police say road conditions in the area are "treacherous," so far no injuries have been reported.
Mark Mills, the road operations superintendent for the City of Toronto, said salt trucks are already out, adding that today will be an “all hands on deck” event.
“For today, please avoid travel if possible. If you need to travel today, please plan ahead,” he said at a news conference Sunday morning.
“If you drive, please slow down. Drive to the conditions of the roadway. Please give yourself time and space for our cyclists, pedestrians.”
If the forecast is correct, Mills said, plows will likely be out on the major roadways at around noon.
He said the main goal of road operations today is to make sure that the sidewalks, streets, and highways are clear for the Monday morning commute.
“It is a test with these mixed precipitation events,” he said. “We will have to be diligently patrolling.”
With extreme winter weather conditions today, please drive with extra caution on our roads. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going and remember to drive safe and look out for pedestrians. pic.twitter.com/Zb2jR0WH4G— John Tory (@JohnTory) December 1, 2019
At Toronto Pearson International Airport, freezing rain began to fall at around 8 a.m. and flight delays and cancellations have been reported.
Officials are urging travellers to check their flight status before leaving the house today.
Metrolinx is reporting some delays on GO buses today due to the messy conditions.
Environment Canada is also warning of strong wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour, resulting in blowing snow and reduced visibility.
High winds are likely to blame for falling glass at a busy intersection in the Financial District early Sunday morning.
Fire crews were forced to shut down the intersection of King Street West and Yonge Street due to glass falling from a building in the area.
The inclement weather has also prompted officials in Burlington and Mississauga to cancel their respective Santa Claus parades today.