Heavy snowfall in Hamilton and surrounding area forces some services to cancel Wednesday

The heavy snowfall that hit most of Southern Ontario Wednesday has led to the cancellation of some services around Hamilton and Niagara. 

Environment Canada says Hamilton and nearby regions are set to see snow fall until Thursday morning

Snowy vehicles drive on the road.
Environment Canada said Hamilton is set to get 15 to 20 cm of snow by Thursday morning. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

The heavy snowfall that hit most of Southern Ontario Wednesday has led to the cancellation of some services around Hamilton and Niagara. 

Hamilton's Ward 12 Coun. Craig Cassar said COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Red Hill Library and Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre closed earlier in the afternoon while the David Braley Health Centre's sexual health clinic cancelled for the evening. Outdoor skating rinks closed in the afternoon, he said.

Other cancelled services include the welcome baby programming at the Riverdale Community Centre and Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre, as well as child and adolescent services single session walk-in programs.

Hamilton Public Library said all branches would close at 7 p.m., with the Freelton, Greensville, Lynden, Carlisle and Mount Hope branches closing at 5 p.m. "Bookmobile Service and Extended Access is cancelled. Study Halls are also cancelled," the library said.

Hamilton's public school board said it cancelled after-school permits and will close all administrative buildings at 6 p.m.

"Schools operating childcare and after-school care programs will not close until each child is picked up," it added. "Caretakers will wait for all children in childcare to be picked up as we recognize that some parent may be late today with the snow that is expected."

Meanwhile, the Niagara Children's Centre also started closing at 3 p.m., "to ensure the safety of its families, staff and volunteers."

It comes after Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Brant County, Niagara region, Norfolk County and Hamilton.

That snow may turn to rain in Niagara Wednesday night, according to the snowfall warning, but the snow will persist in the other municipalities until Thursday morning.

Environment Canada meteorologist Jordan Nicholls said Tuesday most of Southern Ontario should expect around 20 centimetres of snow, but Hamilton, the Niagara Region and Brantford would likely see a mix of snow and rain. The weather agency is warning drivers to beware of changing road conditions due to reduced visibility from heavy snow. 

Nicholls said the weather pattern would be moving east toward New York state by Thursday morning. 

Brantford police tweeted drivers should ensure they clear ice or snow from their vehicles, ensure they have windshield washer fluid, have an emergency kit in their car and use their headlights.

Shelter and drop-in options

At 1:45 p.m., the City of Hamilton tweeted road crews are continuing to respond to escarpments and Class 1 and 2 Roads and cycling lanes.

"The Keddy Access Trail is currently closed while crews complete material application," it said.

Cassar said as of 1:52 p.m., Hamilton received five centimetres of snow, "with intensity predicted to increase around 3 p.m. bringing an additional 20 centimetres of snow."

He said people experiencing homelessness can attend various drop-in services including:

  • The Hub at 78 Vine Street from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and overnight from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Overnight services for women and non-binary people at YWCA Carole Anne's Place on 75 MacNab Street from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Drop-in programming for women at Willow's Place 196 Wentworth Street North from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Drop-in programming from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for youth at Living Rock Youth Resources.

He also said HSR and DARTS will keep running on schedule and waste collection routes should be done by the end of the day.

Niagara's public and Catholic school boards cancelled buses Wednesday. The Catholic school board said it would move Wednesday's secondary exams and culminating activities to Thursday.

Environment Canada said that isolated power outages are possible due to the snowfall.

It is labelling the weather as a "Texas low," meaning it's a low pressure system that intensified south — in this case near Kansas — before moving northeast over the Great Lakes, while carrying moisture and snow along the way.