Winter storm sets snowfall record, closes businesses, roads

A winter storm battered Windsor on Wednesday, cancelling flights and closing highways.
A winter storm battered Windsor on Wednesday, cancelling flights and closing highways. (Vince Robinet/CBC News)

A winter storm battered Windsor on Wednesday.

The storm helped set a new snowfall record in the region, pushing Windsor past the 225.5 centimetres of snow it received in the winter of 2004-2005.

"And with respect to temperature, [it's been] the coldest winter since the winter of '78-79," Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said.

The storm started just after 5 a.m. and continued well into the day.

By 1 p.m., the OPP had closed a 60-kilometre westbound stretch of Highway 401 between Windsor and Tilbury.

An hour later, the police closed the eastbound lanes in the same stretch.

At the same time, the police began telling drivers in Essex County to stay off the road.

Windsor police responded to 22 accidents in the first 13 hours of Wednesday.

Two incoming and two outgoing flights were cancelled at Windsor International Airport.

Flights to and from Pelee Island were also cancelled and the Pelee Island transportation office in Leamington closed for the day due to weather.

St. Clair College cancelled all continuing education and apprenticeship classes at both the Windsor and Chatham campuses.

Just before 1 p.m., the Honey Badger Bistro tweeted it would be closed “for the safety of our staff and customers.”

The Breakaway Gaming Centre, a bingo hall in west Windsor, also closed.

A cold weather alert and winter storm warning were issued for Windsor-Essex on Tuesday and extend into Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to plummet to -16 C overnight into Thursday, so the Windsor Essex County Health Unit issued a cold weather alert.

"With these cold weather conditions upon us, area residents need to protect themselves," the health unit said in a media release. "Individuals who are stranded and those without shelter are in immediate danger, as are individuals whose homes are poorly insulated or without heat."

Environment Canada says "significant snow and blowing snow are possible" Wednesday. About 15 cm of snow is possible by Wednesday night.

Rain, wet snow and a slight risk of freezing rain is expected from Windsor to Dunnville.


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