Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto and the GTA ahead as an afternoon snowfall could “significantly affect” the drive home.

According to the national weather agency, the entire Greater Toronto Area is expected to receive between four and eight centimetres of snow with 10 centimetres possible in “one or two localities" before the snow tapers off later this evening.

“Motorists should plan extra time to reach their destination due to poor winter driving conditions from accumulating snow on untreated roads and occasional reduced visibility in snow,” the special weather statement reads.

According to Superintendent of Winter Operations Mark Mills, salting began on main arterial roads and other parts of the city throughout the day.

Mills said he expects that the city’s salt truck and plow operators will be busy all weekend due to a trio of snow events that are in the forecast.

“We are getting between 10 and 20 centimetres this weekend so we will be busy. Right now we are deploying our salt trucks on our main arterial roadways and expressways and once we meet our thresholds of 2.5 centimetres on expressways, 5 centimetres on our main arterial roads and 8 centimetres on our local roads we will deploy our plow trucks,” he said. “We are probably going to slow down the commute this evening but please give us the time and space necessary to do our job,. We are there to help and you will notice a considerable difference once we get our job done.”

Police urging drivers to slow down

The snow is not expected to have a significant impact on operations at Pearson International Airport, though travellers are being urged to check their flight status before leaving home.

Meanwhile, police are asking drivers to slow down and be aware of the potential for slippery roads this evening.

“Traffic volumes are obviously going to be heavy and it is going to be a slower commute but the problem we are going to have is individuals that are driving too aggressively, the ones who are leaving late, trying to get home early and driving far too fast for the road conditions,” Const. Clint Stibbe told CP24 on Friday morning. “We are asking everybody to just be conscience that is winter. It is going to snow and there may be ice in some places. By adjusting your driving habits you can make your commute a safer one.”

More snow on the way

The snow is expect to stop falling sometime this evening, though more messy weather is on the way for the city.

CP24 Meteorologist Bill Coulter says the city will receive another five centimetres of snow on Saturday and between four and eight centimetres on Sunday before a milder air mass moves in for the start of next week.

“We are going to get three rounds of snow and while none of them are going to be particularly unbelievable, combined it could bring 15 to 20 centimetres,” Coulter said.

The City of Toronto has lifted an extreme cold weather alert that was in effect as of noon today amid slightly warmer temperatures. The expected daytime high for today is -5 C.

Rough winter impacting road salt supply

Winter maintenance in the GTA could get a little more tricky as commercial wholesalers of road salt grapple with a waning supply.

Stephanie Sinclair from Draglam Salt in Etobicoke told CTV News Toronto that their road salt supply has run low due to the seemingly relentless snowy weather in the region. She said that while they’re working hard to bring more in, private wholesalers tend to get pinched first as the priority is to supply cities. 

“Municipalities are getting the majority of the supply right now,” Sinclair said. “It’s a big of a struggle for commercial wholesalers like us so we’re looking for alternatives to bring salt into the GTA.”

At Draglam, Sinclair said they’ve opted to bring in salt from Montreal to fill orders. 

“Some of the people we spoke to (in Montreal) said that they’re worried it will eventually run out too,” she said. 

In the meantime, suppliers are urging contractors to conserve what they have and use a salt-sand mixture.

“The last time that they rationed salt was in 2013 due to the ice storm,” Shawn Sowten of Industrial Property Services told CTV News Toronto. “I think we saw anywhere from a 50 to 60 per cent increase in the cost.”

With files from CTV News Toronto reporter Sean Leathong