City officials are urging residents to be cautious after snow blanketed Toronto on Monday evening.
Mixed precipitation, possibly including ice pellets, was in the forecast overnight but was expected to taper off to light snow, drizzle or freezing drizzle by early Tuesday.
Toronto remained under a winter weather travel advisory as of 10 p.m. on Monday.
In a winter weather update on Monday afternoon, the city urged residents to take public transit instead of driving. It said if people had to go out on the roads, they should allow for the conditions and expect slippery streets.
“People driving should slow down, follow at a safe distance, watch out for pedestrians and people cycling, and stay alert at all times, especially when approaching transit stops and intersections,” the city said in the update.
The forecast called for between five and 10 centimetres of snow. According to Environment Canada, the snowfall was expected to be heavy at times.
The federal weather agency had said visibility would be reduced when the snow was heavy and blowing. The forecast also called for strong easterly wind gusts of up to 60 km/h in Toronto followed by strong westerly winds of up to 60 km/h on Tuesday.
“Travel may be hazardous due to sudden changes in the weather,” Environment Canada said.
“Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.”
‘If you’re on the roads, drive carefully’
Ontario Provincial Police, meanwhile, urged motorists to brace for difficult driving conditions.
Winter weather driving conditions are back. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OnStorm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OnStorm</a>. Drive Safe and Take Care. <a href=”https://t.co/NaluEg2RM4″>pic.twitter.com/NaluEg2RM4</a>
“Winter has arrived here with a fury again,” Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the OPP’s highway safety division, said in a Twitter video.
“This system came through really fast. The wind is blowing strong out of the east. It was clear and then all of a sudden the snow hit,” he added.
“If you’re on the roads, drive carefully, safely.”
Give snow plows plenty of room to do their jobs, he added, saying visibility is very limited. Everyone’s “full headlight systems” should be on, he said.
“It’s not pleasant to be outside here,” he added.
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport urged travellers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.
WEATHER ALERT: Heading to Pearson? Be careful as snow is in the forecast for Southern Ontario, making for poor road conditions and visibility. As always, check your flight status with your airline before leaving for the airport. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ONstorm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ONstorm</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/safetyfirst?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#safetyfirst</a>
The city said its four warming centres are open for people experiencing homelessness and are accepting walk-in clients. The centres are as follows:
Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.
Metro Hall, 55 John St.
Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave.
Cecil Community Centre, 58 Cecil St.
The city said its warming centre at Metro Hall has been opened since Feb. 16.
Hakeem Muhammad, spokesperson for the city’s transportation services, said in an interview on Monday evening that the city has been monitoring the weather forecast for several days and this storm was considered “pretty normal.”
Muhammad said the city has been coping with the winter storms that seem to be hitting the city weekly.
“The fact that we have had multiple snow events, one after the other, is not really something that is challenging for the city,” he said.
He said snow clearing is continuing following the last snowstorm in certain parts of the city and Monday’s snowfall will not interfere with that effort.
In its news bulletin, the city said its crews were expected to begin salting as soon as the snow starts to stick to the ground and plowing will begin when the snow reaches:
2.5 centimetres on expressways.
5 centimetres on major roads, transit routes and streets with hills.
8 centimetres on residential streets.
As for sidewalks and separated bike lanes, clearing was expected to begin when the snow reaches two centimetres.