Environment Canada warns of heavy snow, poor visibility in storm
Chris Kitching, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:00AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:27PM EDT
Don’t let these mild temperatures fool you.
Winter isn’t going down without a fight.
Environment Canada says a late-season storm could dump more than 15 centimetres of snow in parts of southern Ontario on Wednesday. The national weather agency is warning of heavy snow, strong winds and poor visibility in the storm.
Wednesday will be one of the ugliest days of the season and the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse in the morning. That's the last thing winter-weary residents probably want to hear after struggling with sub-freezing temperatures for weeks and several blasts of snow or ice since winter began in December.
Eight days before the arrival of spring, temperatures will plummet again across the province and blowing snow could disrupt the morning and afternoon commutes.
In Toronto, the snow could be heavy at times and about 10 cm is expected before the system tapers off in the evening. The temperature will fall to -7 C in the afternoon and wind gusts of 60 kilometres-per-hour are possible.
Wet snow is likely just before the changeover to snow as the temperature drops Wednesday morning. Wet snow and falling temperatures could be a dangerous combination for motorists.
"This could create rather hazardous commuting conditions from the Greater Toronto Area southwestwards as roads may become slippery with some of the initial accumulating snow turning to ice," Environment Canada said in a special weather statement.
Brisk northeasterly winds will reduce visibility in blowing snow.
City prepares for snowstorm
Trevor Tenn, the city’s manager of road operations for Scarborough, said public works crews are monitoring the forecast and plan to put down a layer of salt on Toronto’s expressways and arterial roads before the morning commute.
Tenn said it helps that traffic will be lighter because students are off for March Break.
The city deploys its snowplows on expressways when there is 2.5 cm of snow accumulation. Five cm is the threshold for arterial roads and eight cm for local roads.
Winter storm warning issued
A winter storm warning was issued from Windsor to Niagara Region and Napanee to Cornwall, where heavier snow is possible.
Total snowfall amounts could reach 25 cm in those regions, Environment Canada warned.
In southwestern Ontario and Niagara Region, rain, wet snow and/or freezing rain are possible before a quick changeover to snow in the morning.
Winter takes toll on roads
Meanwhile, the winter has taken a toll on Toronto's pothole-ridden roads, forcing crews to fill more of the tiny craters.
Tenn said city workers have already filled 74,500 potholes this year, compared with 41,465 potholes during the same period in 2013.
It costs $20 to $25 to fill a pothole, Tenn told CP24 traffic and safety specialist Cam Woolley.
Torontonians can report one by calling 311 or filling out an online form.
So far, 311 has received more than 5,700 calls about potholes in 2014. At this time last year, 311 had received almost 2,800 complaints.
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