More snow on the way for Saturday following messy evening commute Thursday
Paul Johnston and Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, December 15, 2016 6:41AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 15, 2016 11:22PM EST
If you thought Thursday afternoon’s weather was bad be warned – more of the white stuff is on the way.
Commuters in the city and across the Greater Toronto Area were forced to deal with a slow and slippery evening commute following a blast of winter weather that first arrived in the region Thursday afternoon.
A band of snow hit the outer reaches of Toronto before 2 p.m., with snowfall continuing for much of the afternoon.
In a winter travel weather advisory sent out by the national weather agency Thursday morning, Environment Canada warned that Toronto, Hamilton and parts of the GTA would see brief, heavy, blowing snow that would likely create messy driving conditions at times.
Environment Canada also warned that brief whiteout conditions might occur in parts of the GTA.
The worst of the snowfall for Toronto has passed to the southwest, CP24 meteorologist Chris Potter said Thursday night.
“Although snow squalls are set to continue through the evening hours, they will weaken tonight and weather conditions are set to improve through the morning on Friday,” he said.
The reprieve from the snow will be short lived, however.
“Now that the heavy snow squalls have cleared Toronto, the focus is on our next system,” Potter said.
“A large Colorado low is set to move in Friday night and bring widespread accumulating snow across southern Ontario and the GTA. Between 10 and 15 centimetres is expected in the GTA by Saturday afternoon, when temperatures climb and rain begins to mix in.”
The heavy snow Thursday afternoon caused a slow evening drive as commuters contended with slick roads in and around the city.
Speaking with CP24 Thursday night, a Canadian Automobile Association representative said that Thursday had been an “incredibly busy” day.
“We were seeing wait times of up to two hours in the GTA, and much longer outside the GTA,” Tony Tsai said.
“Just getting trucks out to people was taking a long time with traffic and the weather.”
Over 500 collisions were reported in the GTA and surrounding area since 6 a.m. Thursday, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a tweet late Thursday night.
In Toronto, plowing on local roads is expected to begin at around 12 a.m., the city's winter operations department said Thursday night.
The plowing will go on through the night, and is expected to be completed by around 2 p.m. Friday.
Residents are asked to stay off city streets tonight, if possible, and to shovel their sidewalks.
Salting operations in areas including North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke have been ongoing since Thursday afternoon, the city said.
As of 10:30 p.m., Toronto, Hamilton, and parts of the GTA remained under a special weather statement. A snow squall warning remained in effect for areas north of Toronto, including Barrie, Midland, Orillia, as well as Halton, Peel, York and Durham regions.
An extreme cold weather alert remains in effect for the City of Toronto.