Hamilton snowfall warning ends, commute woes continue

Environment Canada lifted its snowfall warning for Hamilton and the region Wednesday afternoon following a day of heavy precipitation, but the accumulated mess — all 24 centimetres of it — lingered to cause traffic and transit disruptions for commuters.

Police chief Glenn De Caire issued snow advisory warning to Hamilton motorists


  • Snowfall warning ended as of 4:39 p.m.
  • Police chief Glenn De Caire declared snow advisory warning.
  • School buses delays cleared.
  • GO bus 16 Hamilton/Toronto Express resumed as of 6:05 p.m.
  • City facilities and buildings closed.
  • McMaster University closes at 5:30 p.m. Mohawk College closes at 4 p.m.
  • YMCA branches remain open, but all classes cancelled as of 5 p.m.

Environment Canada lifted its snowfall warning for Hamilton and the region Wednesday afternoon following a day of heavy precipitation, but the accumulated mess — all 24 centimetres of it — lingered to cause traffic and transit disruptions for commuters.

“We've just seen the last few flakes, so it's all over," Marie-Ève Giguère, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, told CBC Hamilton Wednesday afternoon. 

The snowfall warning was lifted at 4:39 p.m, Giguère said.

Hamilton commuters who were delayed by the weather in the morning didn't get much relief during the evening rush hour, as they dealt with slick road conditions and transit disruptions.

Hamilton police have shut down Linc at Garth, Upper James and Upper Wentworth streets. Police spokesperson Debbie McGreal-Dinning said on Twitter that there were multiple cars in ditches and conditions are "very messy."

Hamilton is under a snowfall warning early Wednesday morning, with a cold weather alert coming Wednesday night. (Tony Smyth)

The 16 Hamilton/Toronto Express GO Bus has resumed as of 6:05 p.m, following several hours of suspension. However, all other GO Transit routes continue to experience delays of up to two hours. 

All school bus delays have been cleared shortly before 5:30 p.m. At the peak of the disruption Wednesday afternoon, more than 70 buses were affected with delays ranging from 15 to 60 minutes. For the latest update, visit Hamilton Wentworth Student Transportation Services's website.

In town, closures and cancellations are also mounting. 

As of 3 p.m., the city has closed all city facilities and buildings, including all recreation centres and civic museum, due to weather conditions. 

A number of meetings and services are also affected. For a full list of closures, read the city's weather update here

Police chief cautions motorists

YMCA branches in Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford remain open, but all classes after 5 p.m. have been cancelled.

McMaster University will close early at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, citing "persistent inclement weather," the university announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Mohawk College will also close early at 4:00 p.m. 

The city's announcement came shortly after police chief Glenn De Caire issued a snow advisory warning to Hamilton motorists Wednesday afternoon.

De Caire asked drivers to use "extreme caution" when on the road and park in driveways and parking lots whenever possible to allow snow removal operations. 

De Caire also asked motorists to stay back from snow removal equipment and give operators room to "safely perform their difficult snow removing tasks."

Parked vehicles that violate municipal bylaws will be subject to removal, the chief added. 

Cold weather alert

The city received 24 centimetres of snow before it tapered off late Wednesday afternoon, exceeding Environment Canada's forecast of 20 centimetres.

And if the snow wasn't enough winter, the city's medical officer of health has issued a cold weather alert for Wednesday night. That happens when current or anticipated weather conditions are at or below – 15 C or – 20 C with the wind chill.  

The forecasted low for Wednesday night is – 17 C. Residents can also expect winds gusting up to 60 km/h. 

Temperatures in January were about – 4 C colder than average, which is very frigid for a sustained period, said Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. The extended cold is really starting to get to people, he told CBC Hamilton.

“I think that’s really what’s driving that weather rage,” he said. “It’s really a throwback to winters of the past.”

Mild days have been few and far between, and without some interludes between intense cold, this winter seems even more unbearable, Phillips said.

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