Parts of Ontario are under winter storm watch as Environment Canada warns of heavy snowfall and a risk of freezing rain. The storm is expected to pass through the province on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing up to 30 centimetres of snow in some areas and creating hazardous travel conditions.
Winter storm watch for central and eastern Ontario
Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for parts of central and eastern Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie, Greater Sudbury, Nipigon, Marathon, Ottawa, Cornwall and Brockville. These regions could see 15 to 30 centimetres of snow starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing into Wednesday morning. The snow may be accompanied by strong winds and blowing snow, reducing visibility and making driving difficult. There is also a chance of freezing rain in some areas, especially in the Fraser Valley, which could cause ice accumulation and power outages.
Special weather statements for southern Ontario
Other parts of southern Ontario, including Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara, London and Windsor, are under special weather statements, with 5 to 15 centimetres of snow expected from Tuesday to Wednesday. The snowfall may vary depending on the location and the influence of the Great Lakes. The snow will be followed by colder temperatures and wind chill values as low as -25°C by Thursday.
Travel disruptions and safety precautions
The winter storm has already caused travel disruptions and school closures across the province. Some major highways, such as the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, were temporarily shut down on Monday to allow snowplows to clear the roads and help stranded vehicles. Some GO Transit buses and trains were also delayed or cancelled due to the weather conditions. Many schools and universities announced that they will be closed or operating remotely on Tuesday and Wednesday. Several COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites were also closed or rescheduled.
Environment Canada advises the public to avoid non-essential travel and to prepare for emergencies during the winter storm. The agency recommends having an emergency kit, a fully charged phone, a shovel, a scraper, a flashlight and extra clothing in the vehicle. It also urges people to dress warmly and to cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.