Toronto

Toronto works to dig out after first major snowfall of the year

Toronto is working to dig out from its first major snowfall of the year after being blanketed with snow and hit with at times high winds that made for some treacherous driving conditions. 

Snowfall warning has ended; extreme cold weather alert remains in effect

A couple enjoys a walk in Mississauga as the first major snowfall of the season blankets the GTA. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

Toronto is working to dig out from its first major snowfall of the year after being blanketed with snow and hit with at times high winds that made for some treacherous driving conditions. 

A snowfall warning for the city has ended. The snow will change to showers and wet flurries as temperatures briefly climb, but winds could gust up to 40 to 70 kilometres per hour.

An extreme cold weather alert remains in effect with the temperature feeling like the minus double-digits overnight.

Altogether, the city received about 15 centimetres of the white stuff — a far cry from the approximately 70 centimetres the walloped eastern Canada. 

The city says plowing will continue overnight with a second round of salting expected Sunday. 

Ontario Provincial Police were contending with 40 crashes at one point Saturday afternoon, the majority on Highway 401, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said. In the last 24 hours, a total of 250 crashes were reported to the OPP in the Greater Toronto Area. 

City trucks applied two rounds of salt to main roads in Toronto by Saturday afternoon. (Susan Goodspeed/CBC)

"It's a mess," he said. "Cars are spinning out of control, going sideways, getting stuck."

Schmidt's advice to drivers: be reasonable, slow down, use your full headlight system and make sure your vehicle fluid is topped up.

The messy roads also saw buses stuck in several areas. In Peel, a pedestrian was struck by a snowplow truck. His condition isn't yet known.

Toronto police, meanwhile, are urging drivers to "keep a safe distance" as the city receives a significant amount of snow in a short space of time.

A TTC bus was stuck on Warden Avenue north of St. Clair Avenue East on Saturday afternoon. (Muriel Draaisma/CBC)

Drivers are advised to clear their vehicles of snow before they begin driving. Snow should also be removed from the windows, hood and the roof.

Earlier on Saturday, city spokesperson Eric Holmes said the city had 200 salt trucks, 1,500 workers and 1,100 pieces of equipment at its disposal to deal with the snow. 

Holmes said staff prepared days to cope with what he called the "first snowstorm of the decade."

Toronto police urged drivers to 'keep a safe distance' from other vehicles as the city received a significant amount of snow in a short space of time. (John Rieti/CBC)