City prepared for snow as winter storm arrives
Chris Kitching and Paul Johnston , cp24.com
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013 5:20AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2013 1:15AM EST
Toronto is prepared to handle any and all snow that may fall as part of a winter storm that arrived in the GTA Tuesday night, the city’s director of transportation services says.
“We’re ready,” Peter Noehammer said Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve got our salt trucks standing by at their locations [for] when the snow starts to come down later tonight. We’ll be following up with plowing as the snow starts to accumulate.”
Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the GTA ahead of a storm that is bringing rain and heavy snow to southern and eastern Ontario.
Warnings are also in effect for Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph, as well as York, Halton, Peel and Durham regions, and Huron and Perth counties.
The storm is expected to create a messy and hazardous commute Wednesday morning.
The low-pressure system arrived in Canada from the southern U.S. bringing precipitation to southwestern Ontario Tuesday afternoon and precipitation in the GTA beginning early Tuesday evening.
In the GTA, wet snow or rain will change over to snow after midnight, although the changeover will be delayed along the shore of Lake Ontario because the temperature will remain above the freezing mark a little longer than in other areas, Environment Canada said.
Up to 20 cm of snow is possible for parts of the GTA, but there will be less snow close to Lake Ontario, where about five to 10 cm is expected.
The heaviest period of snowfall in southern Ontario is likely to occur overnight and into Wednesday morning’s commute as the system moves east, according to the special weather statement. Environment Canada said the snowfall rate at that point will be about two to five cm per hour.
Motorists are being reminded to drive with caution and be prepared for a slow commute.
“Driving conditions are expected to deteriorate and may become hazardous due to rapidly accumulating snow on untreated roads and low visibility in heavy snow,” Environment Canada warned.
Police are telling drivers to slow down, leave extra room between vehicles just in case they are forced to come to a sudden stop, and give themselves extra time to arrive at their destination because there will likely be delays.
Motorists should also top up their fuel and windshield washer fluid, and have a fully-charged cellphone in their vehicle.
Noehammer said that Torontonians can help the city by planning ahead and only travelling on city streets tonight and tomorrow if absolutely necessary.
“If you don’t have to travel, it’s a good idea not to travel,” he said. “Of course everyone has to go to work and school, and so we understand that, and we’re going to try our best to keep the roads open with our plows on the main roads tomorrow.”
TTC makes preparations
The Toronto Transit Commission is also taking steps to ensure a smooth ride for commuters Wednesday morning.
Fifty per cent of subway trains will be kept in tunnels overnight to prevent delays running out of subway yards in the morning, the commission said in a release issued Tuesday afternoon.
A de-icing agent will also be applied by “storm cars” to the power rail as trains run back and forth to prevent the build-up of snow and ice, which could also cause delays.
“Storm cars” will also be used on streetcar lines throughout the city to prevent the potential freezing of switches.
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