Over 110 flights cancelled at Pearson as freezing rain coats Toronto area with ice

A freezing rain warning remains in effect for the Toronto area as wintry weather has led to the cancellation of more than 110 flights at Pearson airport.

Icy day in Toronto leads to school closures, traffic accidents, transit delays

Thursday morning's freezing rain left Toronto streets, sidewalks and rear-view mirrors covered in ice. (Linda Ward/CBC)

A freezing rain warning remains in effect for the Toronto area as wintry weather has led to the cancellation of more than 110 flights at Pearson airport.

LIVE BLOG | Toronto Storm Centre: Latest closures and travel details

​The freezing rain left streets under a layer of ice this morning and prompted the closure of many schools. It also caused traffic accidents, transit and flight delays, and some power outages outside of Toronto. 

To see a full list of delays and cancellations, click here

Toronto's Pearson International Airport urged travellers to check flight information with airlines before heading to the airport. 

Shabeen Hanifa, spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said more than 110 flights scheduled to leave from Pearson were cancelled as of 6 p.m.

"It's pretty good right now. Safety is the number 1 priority for us and it's definitely winter operations," she said. 

Hanifa said winter operations means the airport is focused on removing snow from the airfield and clearing ice off aircraft.

Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson  said driving conditions in Toronto could continue to be tricky this evening.

"The best advice is to take it easy out there. The secondary roads could be problematic. There could be some slippery sections in and around the GTA during the evening commute," he said.

'Icy, slippery and hazardous'

Coulson said freezing rain in March is not that unusual.

"This is something we can see from time to time," Coulson said. "We can get these early spring storms that can be quite potent."

He said the warmer weather earlier in March made this weather event stand out, but it's not a surprise, given the calendar. He said snow tires would have come in handy this morning. 

The freezing rain delayed many GO buses, while ice on overhead power lines delayed some TTC streetcars this morning.

Salting is complete on arterial roads and expressways, the city said in a tweet. It is continuing on collector and local roads. 

Schools in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board and the Peel School Board were closed Thursday.

York University cancelled classes at its Keele and Glendon campuses, while the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus and Humber, Sheridan and Centennial Colleges were also closed.

The freezing rain was pretty, but it also forced many school boards to cancel classes. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Environment Canada has warned that surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots could be "icy, slippery and hazardous."

It said periods of freezing rain are expected to continue until early Thursday evening before changing to rain as temperatures rise.

More accumulation of ice in Toronto is possible, it said. 

Earlier this morning, the freezing rain caused major power outages outside the city.

As of 6 p.m., Hydro One crews were responding to 208 incidents affecting 20,025 customers. 

While the freezing rain is expected to lift in the GTA later tonight, the warning is expected to remain in place this evening for much of southern Ontario.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?