Toronto's roads and highways were experiencing lighter traffic than usual after the city's first major snow storm of the season was weaker than expected, dumping only about 10 cm of snow at its worst point.

CP24 Meteorologist Chris Potter predicted bands of snow would sweep across the GTA throughout Wednesday, with about 3 to 6 cm of additional accumulation expected for a total of up to 15 cm.

A band of moderate snow hit Toronto between 2 and 6 p.m., tapering off to flurries tonight.

About 20 to 30 cm of accumulation was previously predicted, but due to the drier nature of the weather system there'll be less of the white stuff.

"Yes, it wasn't necessarily the most epic of snowstorms because it was dry snow," Potter says.

The heaviest band of snow moved through the GTA early Wednesday morning when most school boards were making a decision about whether schools would be closed. Potter says the timing was "convenient" for students hoping to have a snow day.

Heavy winds accompanied the remainder of the weather system, blowing snow across cleared routes and reducing driving visibility. 

Thundersnow was also reported in pockets across the GTA due to lake-induced instability. 

Stay off the roads

Police were urging motorists to avoid non-essential travel. Sgt. Tim Burrows suggests commuters work from home or take public transit and leave extra time.

"If you don't have to drive, don't," Burrows says.

"The less cars we have on the roads, the more efficient snow removal will be. And realistically, the safer the roads will be."

Burrows also advises those that do hit the road to drive according to not only weather conditions, but the condition of the vehicle and its driver.

Drivers behind the wheel of a 4x4 or SUV are also reminded that their vehicles may be better to get out of heavy snow, but they don't stop or slow down any better than a regular car.

Snow day for Toronto students

Several school boards across the GTA had cancelled classes and closed schools Wednesday. The Toronto public and catholic boards had closed schools today, along with the Halton, Peel and Dufferin boards.

More information on school closures and cancellations is available here.

Police chase car without driver

The Ontario Provincial Police were involved in an unusual car chase after a vehicle was towed out of a ditch and drove away on its own.

Sgt. Dave Woodford says a driver was locked out of their car after calling for help on the side of Highway 400 in York Region. 

A tow truck pulled the vehicle from the ditch, but the gear was left in drive. The car soon began to drive down Highway 400. Police managed to nudge the vehicle to a stop and no major damage was reported.

City working to clear the mess

Crews from the City of Toronto are working to plow city streets and sidewalks as accumulation builds. Transportation Services Director Myles Currie says major routes are likely to be plowed several times. It won't be until 18 hours after the storm that smaller side streets will be cleared of snow.

Currie asks people not to park along streetcar routes so that plows can clear the snow.

Storm snarls air travel

About a quarter of the flights from Pearson International Airport were cancelled due to the winter weather. Officials say it's the biggest day for cancellations this season.

Scott Armstrong, a spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, says 300 of the 1,200 scheduled flights have been called off.

Armstrong says most travellers were aware of the storm and stayed home instead of coming to the airport.

Air Canada has issued a travel warning for several cities - including Toronto - due to weather.

At Billy Bishop Island Airport, Porter Airlines is warning passengers to check their flight status before arriving at the airport. The airline says delays and cancellations "may occur."

While the snow may be grounding air travel, rail travel is picking up the slack. VIA Rail says added extra cars to its trains between Ontario and Quebec.

- With files from The Canadian Press