Torontonians can expect slow commutes in the northern part of the city Monday afternoon as the season's first snowfall continues, but they can be thankful they don't live elsewhere in southern Ontario.

Myles Currie, the City of Toronto's transportation director, said the snowfall has been much heavier in the northern part of Toronto than in the downtown core.

"Since 2:30 a.m., we've been salting our main roads and expressways. They're in very good shape," he said.

The plows will be sent out if accumulations hit five centimetres on main roadways and 8 cm on sideroads, he said.

For the afternoon commute, Currie predicted drivers might find the going a bit slow in areas such as northern Etobicoke.

Toronto was greeted with icy and snow-covered roads Monday morning after overnight flurries left four centimetres of snow in some areas.

Flurries in Toronto are expected to fly throughout the day, dropping two to four more centimetres of snow by nightfall. Temperatures are expected to hover just below freezing throughout the day.

Squall warnings

Environment Canada issued snow squall warnings for most of the region stretching from Georgian Bay southwest to Sarnia and southeast to Peterborough as heavy snowfall is expected to continue coating the area until Tuesday.

As much as 30 centimetres of snow has already been reported in Schomberg and Beeton to Toronto's north. The rest of cottage country can expect to see their snow collection reach similar heights by the end of the day.

Environment Canada's severe weather meteorologist Rob Kuhn says some areas in southern Ontario could receive up to 60 centimetres by Tuesday.

That region encompasses Strathroy, London, St. Thomas and up to Grand Bend and Owen Sound.

Environment Canada says a strong and cold northwest wind blowing over the relatively warmer waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay will result in snow squalls with bursts of heavy snow and local whiteout conditions through Monday and into Tuesday.

The area will suffer from zero visibility in some places with those northwesterly winds gusting to 60 kilometres per hour.

Drivers across the province should take special care on the roads as it is expected overnight snowfall will be compounded by more precipitation throughout the day. High winds and whiteouts will make driving even more dangerous.

Ontario Provincial Police said officers had responded to 170 collisions overnight an Monday morning, warning motorists to slow down and use common sense while driving in winter conditions.

"It's treacherous on the roads. You're really going to have to focus on your driving," said OPP Sgt. David Woodford on Monday.

Drivers have been slowing down and adjusting, but that also means longer commutes, he said.

With reports from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney, Zuraidah Alman and files from The Canadian Press