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Toronto hammered by cold spell, air travel & roads affected

CityNews | posted Monday, Jan 6th, 2014

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Toronto is being hammered by a spell of cold weather that is affecting air travel and roads – and it’s going to get colder and snowier on Monday night.

With the wind, it will feel like -35 C to -40 C on Monday night and into Tuesday morning, and similar temperatures are expected across the region, CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said.

Those working outdoors should take extreme caution, as exposed skin may freeze in 10-30 minutes.

The wind chill will improve slowly late Tuesday, Ramsahai said.

But before it does, parts of the GTA will get into snow squalls with reduced visibility and near whiteout conditions on Monday afternoon and evening. Road conditions in the city are expected to worsen Monday night, Ramsahai said.

Snow squall warnings are in effect for parts of the GTA including northern York and Durham regions where 15-30 cm may accumulate by Tuesday morning with near whiteout conditions.

For motorists that find themselves stuck on a snow-blocked highway or in an accident, they could potentially face dangerous wind chills if they have to leave their vehicle.

Travellers are advised to make sure they have an emergency kit in their cars, and enough fuel for their journey.

Weather alerts and warnings

The city is also under an extreme cold weather alert and a wind chill warning.

An extreme cold weather alert is triggered when temperatures are expected to fall below – 15 C. The city makes extra shelter spaces available and overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core to get the homeless in from the cold.

TTC tokens are also offered so that people can use public transit to get to shelters.

Click here for the full forecast.

A flash freeze warning that was issued earlier Monday, warning of a messy morning commute, has since ended.

Travel advisories

GO Transit advised all passengers to leave extra time for their morning commute, as delays were expected.

Dozens of flights have already been cancelled at Pearson airport. Click here to see if yours was affected.

A Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) spokeswoman said nine flights have been diverted from Montreal and Ottawa to Toronto, which has affected deplaning, but most of the cancellations are weather related.

There were about 1,600 scheduled flights Monday and so far, 163 have been cancelled – about 10 per cent.

“It has been a busy day,” Silvana Aceto of the southern Ontario CAA told CityNews.

“As of 10 a.m. we had over 2,000 calls for service [and] we expect volumes to continue to rise as the temperature drops.”

Aceto noted that on an average winter day, the CAA deals with approximately 3,000 calls. That number can double during severe weather.

OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford said that since midnight, the OPP has received 960 calls for service.

Visit our Storm Centre for live updates on closures and cancellations.

Outside Toronto

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning has been issued for the following places in southern Ontario:

  • Caledon
  • Huron-Perth
  • Waterloo-Wellington
  • Dufferin-Innisfil
  • Grey-Bruce
  • Barrie-Orillia-Midland
  • Port Carling-Port Severn
  • Bracebridge-Gravenhurst

Blizzard-like conditions including near zero visibility and gusty winds over 40 km/h are expected to last for many hours on Monday night.

With files from Erin Criger, CityNews.ca

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