Deep freeze, whiteouts hit Waterloo Region

Ontario Provincial Police say they have closed a section of Highway 7/8 in both directions in Cambridge due to lack of visibility as a result of the extreme cold and blowing snow.

Ontario Provincial Police have closed Highway 7/8 in both directions between Fisher-Hallman Road and Bleams Road in Cambridge due to whiteout conditions.

This comes after Environment Canada issued  snow squall and wind chill warnings for Waterloo Region.

Temperatures hit -18 C Monday evening as a mass of Arctic air moved into southern Ontario in the wake of a storm moving eastward. The weather agency predicts a high of -19 C with local blowing snow and a wind chill of -41 for Tuesday. 

“Winter is telling us who is boss," said Rob Kuhn, a severe weather meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Environment Canada is still predicting snowfall accumulation of up to 30 centimetres in some areas by Tuesday as a storm originating in Ohio moves eastward through southern Ontario.

Strong winds gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour hit the region in the wake of the storm as it moves eastward.

"Extreme caution is advised for people heading outdoors. Exposed skin may freeze in less than five minutes," Environment Canada said in an advisory.

"Moreover, it is also suggested to help prevent freezing of pipes in buildings, one could turn on the lowest tap in the house and let it run as a pencil-thin stream or fast drip while keeping indoor temperatures a little warmer at night."

The combination of overnight snow with "intense snow squalls today with bitter wind chills poses a life-threatening risk for anyone outside for any duration, or stranded in vehicles if roads become snow-blocked," said Environment Canada.

"Travellers need to ensure they have an adequate car emergency kit and ample fuel if travelling any distance." 

The cities of Kitchener and Waterloo both implemented on-street parking bans that went into effect after midnight in an effort to ease snow removal efforts. The city of Kitchener has since rescinded the ban.


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