Toronto digs out of ice and snow after messy Tuesday winter storm
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019 5:47AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2019 7:17PM EST
Crews continue to clean up after a mixed bag of winter weather dumped snow and ice on Toronto on Tuesday, leaving a slushy mess in its wake.
Ice buildup and high winds led to major issues for Toronto Hydro and on the TTC on Tuesday night.
At the peak of the storm, about 10,000 Toronto Hydro customers were without power.
Toronto Hydro spokesperson Mallory Cunnington said as of 5 a.m., that number had dwindled to only about 200 customers.
“The ones that are (without power) likely have damage around their home or condo building that we are going to address today,” she said. “We did see some high winds last night and the conditions were not favourable for our crews to be working. It was quite dangerous.”
Service on the TTC returned to normal on Wednesday morning after heavy ice buildup caused issues on streetcar lines and shut down the Scarborough RT overnight. Crews worked through the night to effectively de-ice the tracks and trains.
The Scarborough RT, which was shut down completely due to the inclement weather, was impacted again briefly Wednesday morning before returning to normal operations.
While the winter storm warning has ended for Toronto, Environment Canada has kept a special weather statement in place due to “strong southwest winds” throughout the day.
“A cold front is sweeping through Southern Ontario with wind gusts to 80 km/h,” the advisory said.
“Earlier freezing rain has resulted in ice buildup of 5 to 15 mm on many surfaces. This ice buildup combined with strong winds may cause tree branches to break, possibly resulting in power outages.”
Power outages were reported in Brampton by late Wednesday afternoon, with about 2,680 homes or businesses affected.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, city crews have spent much of the day plowing side streets.
"Once they are plowed, they will be salted," said Mark Mills, the superintendent of road operations for the City of Toronto. "We think they will be wrapped up early this afternoon or late evening."
West of the city has seen a significant amount of blowing snow, causing whiteout conditions in some places.
"You really need to pay attention," OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said. "On days like today, you may not think that the weather is that big of a factor but it certainly is."
An extreme cold weather alert previously issued for Toronto was cancelled as of noon. The alert, which triggers expanded shelter space for the homeless, was issued because of dangerously cold overnight wind chill values close to -20.
However, it won’t feel a great deal warmer in the city today.
Temperatures are expected to fall to -5 C, but the wind chill in the afternoon and overnight will make it feel more like -15.