A mid-March snowstorm has cancelled classes, caused power outages and created treacherous driving conditions in Hamilton on Wednesday. 

The forecast for the day called for 10 to 15 cm of snow and north winds gusting to 60 km/h.

The storm has resulted in a number of closures and cancellations at Hamilton-area educational institutions. Though their students were already out of classes for March Break, the public and Catholic boards announced closed their administrative and child care centres for the day.

McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College all cancelled classes midway through Wednesday.

The blustery weather also created near-whiteout conditions on Hamilton-area highways. 

“Motorists should prepare for hazardous driving conditions today,” Environment Canada said in a statement.

Because of the forecast, Hamilton police are asking motorists to drive with caution in mind.

“Well today let's get back into a winter driving state of mind,” Hamilton police tweeted Wednesday morning. “Leave early, leave room between other motorists and all have patience.”

The bad weather led to power outages for thousands of residents in Hamilton's east end. Around 2,500 homes and businesses in Stoney Creek were without power at 2 p.m. on Wednesday after, Horizon Utilities said on its website. By 3 p.m., service had been restored for all but 275 customers. 

The city says crews are working clear Priority 1 (main arterial roads and escarpment crossings) and Priority 2 (primary and secondary collector roads) streets. 

The snowfall is expected to continue long into the afternoon and end in the evening, with a low of –16 C overnight.

The city has issued a cold weather alert for Wedneday night. A cold alert is issued when current or anticipated weather conditions are at or below  –15 degrees C or –20 with the wind chill. 

Calm but cool conditions are in store for Hamilton on Thursday. Environment Canada predicts a mix of sun and cloud and a high of –8 C for the day.

A bit of melting is possible for Friday, with a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 3 C expected for the day.

Here's a list of weather-related cancellations and service changes in Hamilton on Wednesday: 

Schools and post-secondary institutions:

  • Students and teachers with public and Catholic boards are on March Break
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board administrative offices and child care buildings are closed
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board buildings will close at 1 p.m.
  • Hamilton Public Library closes all branches at 11:30 a.m.
  • McMaster University is closing all “non-essential” facilities at 11:30 a.m.
  • Mohawk College is set to close all of its campuses at 1 p.m.
  • Redeemer University College is closing at 11 a.m.
  • All YMCA Hamilton-Burlington programs are cancelled for Wednesday afternoon, but buildings will remain open for people interested in working out or swimming
  • YWCA Hamilton is closing at 4 p.m, but its childcare programs will remain open until all of the children are picked up; staff urge parents to pick kids up as soon as possible
  • The Hamilton Mountain and Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough Ontario Early Years Centre locations are closed for the day
  • Hillfield Strathallan College is closed on Wednesday, March Break camps cancelled for the day
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board administrative buildings and childcare buildings
  • Catholic Diocese of Hamilton's chancery office closed "due to inclement weather"

Transportation:

  • Delays are possible on HSR bus routes
  • GO Transit says bus service from Toronto Union to Hamilton is "temporarily suspended" on Wednesday afternoonl; riders are encouraged to take the Lakeshore West GO train instead