'Across the GTA, we have got problems everywhere,' police say as storm cleanup continues
Published Tuesday, January 18, 2022 8:21AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 18, 2022 4:11PM EST
Traffic remained snarled on many busy highways across the GTA this morning as Ontario deals with a “storm hangover” following one of the biggest winter storms in the region in several years, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Tuesday.
“Really all across the GTA, we have got problems everywhere,” Schmidt told CP24 on Tuesday morning.
“We need people to stay home. We are still dealing with the aftermath from yesterday. Trucks are still stuck, they've been there overnight.”
Schmidt said early Tuesday morning that there were as many as 90 outstanding calls that officers had not had a chance to respond to.
He noted that while plows have been by to clear the highways, traffic is much heavier today than it was yesterday.
“Already this morning, we are seeing a lot of traffic going back to high speeds,” Schmidt said.
“Some traffic is going to come into a dead stop condition and they very well may not be able to stop.”
He urged people to stay off the highways if possible.
“Stay home if you can, if you do absolutely need to be on the roads here, slow down, give yourself space, turn your lights on and just have patience because you very well may need it again today,” Schmidt said.
The Toronto Transit Commission is also still experiencing service disruptions following yesterday’s storm, which dumped an estimated 36 centimetres of snow on the downtown core.
“The roads are still icy and slippery. Surface vehicles are operating to conditions, that includes streetcars that may have to deal with blocked tracks,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said Tuesday.
He said that as of Tuesday morning, about 300 or 400 buses were still stuck in the snow around Toronto and multiple issues were reported across the subway system.
Subway service is suspended on Line 1 between St. George and Sheppard West stations and between Woodbine and Kennnedy stations on Line 2. The Scarborough RT is completely shut down this morning and shuttle buses are supplementing service.
“The city has done an amazing job overnight of clearing the roads... but there is still snow on the roads,” Green said.
Another snow day for GTA schools
The remnants of yesterday’s snow storm has also delayed the return to in-person learning for many GTA students today.
Schools boards across the GTA, including the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board, have once again opted to close schools and cancel in-person classes.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said it is not yet clear if students will return to the classroom on Wednesday, adding that officials are "taking it a day at a time."
"That's something we will consider later on today. We'll get an update on road clearing... there are significant snow amounts still out there," he said.
Bird said plows are still trying to clear snow on school properties and heavy snow will have to be removed from the roofs of 36 schools before they can be occupied.
There will be no live virtual learning for students today as staff found that it "didn't go over well" on Monday, he said.
"We are hoping that with plows out throughout today, the sun is shining, that we should be able to dig out in time to return to in-person learning tomorrow," Bird said.
"Typically on a snow day we would announce it by 6 a.m. that morning... if we know that we would be reopening, then we would like to get that message out as soon as possible."
Mayor John Tory told reporters Monday that cleanup after yesterday’s storm will likely take another few days.
Brad Ross, a spokesperson for the City of Toronto, said 11 rounds of plowing have been down on expressways and 14 rounds have been done on major roads.
“We are still doing local roads so we do ask for people’s patience,” he told CP24 on Tuesday.
“We are encouraging people to not park in snow routes so we can get this done.”
He added that trash removal will go ahead today but said the city is still playing catch up so garbage trucks may be delayed along some routes.
During a news conference on Tuesday morning, Tory said crews are experiencing "challenges due to abandoned or parked cars on the street."
"This was a big storm… so it is going to take a big cleanup effort and that is going to take some time but the cleanup is well underway," he said.
"I would ask Torontonians for their continued cooperation in following the stricter parking rules during the snow storm condition and I would also request the cooperation of city of Toronto residents in staying off the roads as much as possible and being considerate with the location of their cars on the streets."