Residents living in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada are in for a cold, wretched night. Environment Canada is predicting the arrival of five to ten centimetres of snow on Monday night as well as an onslaught of high winds, ice pellets, and freezing rain. The first snowflakes started to fall in downtown Toronto at 5:30 p.m.
A winter storm watch issued for the Greater Toronto Area did conclude on Monday morning with previous statements by Environment Canada being downgraded to the less severe sounding “special weather watch.” The affected areas are: Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Halton Hills, Milton, Burlington, Oakville, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham.
Cities and towns currently under a freezing rain watch include the City of Hamilton, Newmarket, Caledon, Georgina, Barrie, and Orillia.
Further north and east of Toronto are Haliburton, Muskoka, and Cornwall, which are also observing a weather watch.
Those who have plane tickets booked may want to double check their flights; Air Canada has issued a travel advisory effective for the next two days in response to the storm.
The city of Toronto began making preparations for the storm on Sunday by spraying liquid salt brine on hills and bridges in the area and is still taking great precaution in regards to heavy snowfall warnings; there are 600 snow ploughs, 300 sidewalk ploughs, and 200 salt trucks ready to be deployed in case of dire circumstances.
“As soon as we start receiving any snow or ice pellets, our salters will be deployed to hit all of our expressways and main roads and collectors as well as some of the local streets,” explained Hector Moreno, who works as the manager of road operations with Toronto Transportation Services. “Part of the preparation is making sure you have the proper equipment and staffing in place, making sure you have the right materials at your disposal.”
In light of last year’s brutal winter (Toronto experienced 63 centimetres of snow between January and April in 2015), the city has acquired new equipment that will hopefully make clearing the roads less strenuous.
This onslaught of winter madness comes after an uncharacteristic spike in temperatures in previous weeks.