The Greater Toronto Area is bracing for the impact of a major snowfall this afternoon, as blowing snow has already started falling across the province. The heavy precipitation will affect Toronto's morning commute to work, but meteorologists predict that the worst is yet to come.
According to Environment Canada, "Many areas will receive near 15 centimetres of snow by this evening. Locally higher amounts of 20 cm are possible near the west end of Lake Ontario." A snowfall warning was officially issued late afternoon yesterday as a result of the forecast. "The heaviest snow is most likely to fall this afternoon, resulting in a significant impact on the commute home late in the day."
The National Weather Service has stated that snowfall will begin to intensify throughout Toronto around 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. According to meteorologist Gerald Cheng, it will "only get worse from there." The forecast predicts the storm will end around 9:00 PM tonight.
The superintendent of Toronto's road operations, Mark Mills, has told CP24 that salt trucks will be in operation this morning as the snow starts falling. “Right now our first line of defence will be salt trucks. We have 200 salt trucks, we have 300 sidewalk plows, and 600 road plows...As the storm progresses, it looks like around noon, we may see some plow trucks out and some sidewalk machines.” He warns that today's weather will likely disrupt the city's evening commute.
If the snow wasn't enough to make you hide under your covers this morning, maybe the freezing temperatures will. Today's high of –6°C will actually feel like -18°C with the wind chill.
Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert today that will be in effect until further notice.— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) February 27, 2019
An extreme cold weather alert has been issued for Toronto by the city's medical officer of health ahead of wind chill values of -18. The alert also adds cold-weather services for the homeless.— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) February 27, 2019
An extreme cold weather alert has been issued for Toronto today. Temperature is expected to feel close to -17 with the wind chill.— CP24 (@CP24) February 27, 2019
The latest of Toronto's winter storms this month results from a low-pressure system heading in our direction from the U.S. Midwest.
Environment Canada is urging drivers to take extra precaution on the roads today, as "visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow."
School bus service has been cancelled for today by the following GTA boards (though schools remain open):
- Peel District School Board
- Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
- York Region District School Board
- York Catholic District School Board
- Durham District School Board
- Durham Catholic District School Board
For the following school boards, school bus service is cancelled and schools and facilities are closed for today:
- Halton District School Board
- Halton Catholic District School Board
- Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
According to City of Toronto spokesperson Eric Holmes, the City requests its residents to allow snow-removal trucks enough space to clear the snow blocking roadways, and asks people to wait at least "several hours" after the precipitation has finally stopped falling to contact 311 with snow removal inquiries. He commented that snow-removal contracts have been "very flexible this year" due to the massive $90-million snow-clearing budget allocated to weather-related maintenance.
When the roads look clear they may be slippery. #OPPtips - Maintain sufficient following distance to stop safely. Look far down the road and adjust your driving to prevent any aggressive steering or braking application that could lead to problems. #Hwy402 '2018#HeavyRescue401 pic.twitter.com/taGjCdu4gj— Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) February 27, 2019
The City of Toronto emailed a timeline to CBC Toronto of how they intend to approach Wednesday's snowstorm (although - based on changing weather conditions - the plan is subject to change):
As for the rest of this week, we can look forward to a chilly but sunny Thursday and Friday, with temperature highs of -3°C and 0°C, respectively.