Winter storm slams Hamilton, more to come as roads, schools, transit affected

Snow and ice pellets have snarled traffic on the Burlington Skyway, shuttered schools and cancelled city programs as a winter storm continues to slam Hamilton.

Hamilton's public and Catholic schools, Mohawk and McMaster were all closed Tuesday

A woman walking through downtown Hamilton braces herself against the wind and snow during a winter storm on Feb. 12, 2019. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Snow and ice pellets have snarled traffic on the Burlington Skyway, shuttered schools and cancelled city programs as a winter storm continues to slam Hamilton.

Provincial police are warning commuters preparing for the trip home to take it slow.

"We're still dealing with snow, freezing ice pellets and rain right now," said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. "It's going to be like this pretty much the rest of the day."

He warned drivers to follow posted speed limits on the wet, slushy roads.

Hamilton's public and Catholic schools, along with Mohawk College and McMaster University were closed Tuesday after Environment Canada issued a  winter storm warning for the city.

Local libraries and city-run programs were cancelled as the weather worsened, while waste collection was delayed and public transport experienced delays.

Fort Erie-bound traffic on the Skyway was also blocked for about two hours before a crash was cleared.

The weather agency says "Hazardous winter conditions are expected. A winter storm with a combination of 10 to 20 cm snow, ice pellets and freezing rain is expected today into tonight."

Environment Canada says strong easterly winds gusting up to 80 km/h are also expected.

The agency warned "snow and local blowing snow" would begin Tuesday morning. Snow is expected to transition to ice pellets and then to freezing rain this afternoon. Freezing rain may persist for several hours before changing to rain or snow in the evening."

Total snowfall and ice pellet amounts of 10 to 20 cm are possible before ending Wednesday, the agency says, and the storm is associated with a "Colorado Low that will cross Southern Ontario tonight into Wednesday." 

CBC reporters Sam Craggs and Jasmine Kabatay take a trip around Hamilton on snow day. 

Here's a list of school closures:

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board: All schools are closed and transportation is cancelled.

Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board: All schools are closed and transportation is cancelled.

McMaster University: Closed.

Mohawk College: Closed. All continuing education classes are also cancelled.

University of Toronto at Mississauga: Closed

Brock University: Closed. All daytime classes and activities planned for today have been cancelled. School officials are monitoring the situation and will make an announcement regarding evening classes and activities by 3 pm.

Redeemer University College: Closed

Halton District School Board: Closed.

Halton Catholic District School Board: Closed.

Niagara District School Board: Closed

Niagara Catholic District School Board: Closed

Peel District School Board: Closed

Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board: Closed

Providence Christian School: Closed. 

Public transport delays

The HSR is experiencing delays on multiple routes and DARTS is seeing "significant delays." 

Riders are told to leave extra time to get where they're travelling.

The customer service desk at the Hunter Street GO Station will also be closed at 3 p.m.

Hamilton city road closures

The city says "​Crews have been out all night in preparation for the impending storm - monitoring both road and weather conditions and focusing on applying de-icing materials to the road and preparing equipment for use. Service will continue until the council approved LOS is met. Follow our Plow Tracker to see the  progress of our winter maintenance vehicles."

All lanes of the Fort Erie-bound QEW were blocked on the Burlington Skyway for about an hour, but the road was cleared around 11:30 a.m. and reopened.

Also closed or cancelled

Clinic services at Waterdown Sexual Health Clinic, Notre Dame Youth Shelter and at The AIDS Network are cancelled today due to the weather.

Hamilton Public Library: Closed. All programs, events and Bookmobile stops are cancelled. 

Burlington Public Library: Closed.

Neighbour to Neighbour Centre: Closed

YWCA Hamilton: YWCA Hamilton MacNab Street is closed and all non-essential YWCA Hamilton programming is cancelled.

YMCA: All YMCA Child Care Centres throughout Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford are closed today.

McMaster Family Practice: Closed

Diocese of Niagara: Closed

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Closed

Cancer Assist program: Closed.

Waterdown Community Meeting: Cancelled.

Environment Hamilton: Stop Sprawl workshops scheduled for tonight have been rescheduled for Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Environment Hamilton office at 22 Wilson Street.

Mental Health Rights Coalition: Closed

Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts: All classes are cancelled.

Innovation Factory: Closed.


Red Hill Family Centre: Open, however taxi service is cancelled.

Ontario Works offices: Open.

Macassa Lodge: The Adult Day Program remains open. 

Watch out along the waterfront

The city is warning of "dangerous conditions" along the Waterfront Trail in Stoney Creek.

High waves and ice buildup from Lake Ontario mean people should avoid using the trail from the Burlington Lift Bridge to Millen Road.

Waste collection

Waste collection: Delayed. All recycling collection will be completed. Garbage and green cart pickup will take place in the lower city. Dundas & Flamborough pickup is delayed. The city says that "If not collected by 6:00pm today, please bring it in & put it out by Thurs 7am."

Here are a few other tips for putting out your recycling and garbage in strong winds:

  • Place the heaviest items on the top of the blue box to weigh down lighter items.
  • Stand up paper or cardboard in the blue box instead of laying it flat.
  • Keep recyclables below the rim of the blue box.
  • Don't use a garbage bin – use a bag so the container does not blow once it's empty.

Residents who want to keep their recycling until their next scheduled collection date can do so, according to the city. There is no limit to the amount of recycling that can be put out each week.


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