Most of southern Ontario woke up to mounds of snow and freezing rain this morning. That can lead to a messy commute. In fact, roads are so messy that there have been at least 20 collisions in the GTA this morning alone after last night's massive winter storm.
The -30°C temperatures are now gone with Toronto actually sitting just above freezing, but the dramatic change in weather wreaked havoc on our roads. The storm brought with it 2-5 cm of snow in the city directly, with other parts of southern Ontario getting closer to 15 cm. Then there was the freezing rain. The climbing temperatures meant that snow turned to freezing rain, coating GTA sidewalks and roads in ice.
All this started last night with the snow. Freezing rain continued this morning and as the temperatures continue to warm up this is supposed to transition into regular rain by noon today. The warm temperatures are short-lived, however, with colder weather moving back in this evening.
The conditions are so bad that it prompted Environment Canada to issue a special weather statement for Toronto and rest of southern Ontario as well. The statement warns that poor winter travelling conditions are expected this morning. They also say that any untreated surfaces may be slippery. This was definitely the case for GTA drivers today.
According to the OPP, there were at least 20 collisions on GTA roads this morning since the winter storm moved in. In an effort to keep drivers up to date they reported all of them on their Twitter.
A number of the collisions have since been cleared, which the OPP updates on their Twitter as well, but some are still ongoing.
Several of the collisions caused blocked lanes, slowing down traffic even more. One accident later this morning in Oakville has even lead to all the westbound lanes of Highway 407 being blocked off with firefighters being called to the scene.
In Ontario, the OPP is responsible for policing all the major 400 series highways since these are provincial roads, which is why all the collisions they have reported are on the 400, 407, QEW or other major highways. Meanwhile, local forces are responsible for responding to crashed on local, municipal roads.
One of those local forces, York Regional Police, who operate just north of Toronto are also reporting an additional 25 collisions that they have responded to so far this morning. This brings the total number of crashed to at least 50.
COLLISION COUNTER - Our officers have responded to more than 25 collisions across the region this morning. Many more will be reported at our collision reporting centers throughout the day. Slow down and leave extra space. Adjust your driving for the conditions.— York Regional Police (@YRP) January 23, 2019
The number of collisions is prompting police to issue a warning to drivers. The OPP is cautioning people to adjust their driving for the conditions and that if they "see snow, go slow."