Toronto, Ontario — December 16, 2013 — The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) received its first taste of real winter weather on Saturday, with some areas receiving as much as 30 cm of snow. Other Ontario communities were also under a snowfall warning, from Niagara to Windsor and the communities of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Brampton were also under a warning. It was part of a system set to affect much of eastern Canada.
Toronto’s first heavy snowfall of the year made travel difficult, but there was no shortage of people willing to make the attempt, even in the face of the storm. Photographer: Swire Chin.
Factors such as snow and icy conditions contributed to numerous collisions throughout Saturday and Sunday. According to a report in the Toronto Star, OPP Sergeant Dave Woodford said he hadnâ€™t seen this high a number of collisions in his 31 years with the provincial police. Woodford says the OPP received 1,761 calls in the 24 hours following 11 a.m. Saturday morning, averaging one call every two minutes. Most were for single vehicle incidents, but there were also at least two major collisions.
Two people died in a two vehicle collision north of Barrie, and another crash on the westbound Queen Elizabeth Way in Mississauga may have involved as many as 30 vehicles. Highway 6 was closed between Highway 5 and the 403 early Sunday due to of multiple minor crashes due to icy conditions. It reopened around 1:30 a.m.
Emergency vehicles were a common sight in Toronto throughout the weekend, as emergency responders dealt with hundreds of calls. Photographer: Swire Chin.
The storm also made driving difficult as it moved into Quebec. As of 3 p.m. Sunday, Montreal had received approximately 30 cm of snow, with more expected. Poor weather conditions completely closed down Highway 440 at Saint-FranÃ§ois de Laval for two hours, and a collision caused the closure of Highway 40 westbound in the area of Montreal East.
Severe snow fall also hit Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and parts of New Brunswick. The storm picked up power as it crossed Ontario and Quebec, dumping up to 40 cm of snow in some parts of the Maritimes.
An unrelated storm in Calgary that formed late Sunday night was expected to drop another 10 cm on the city, which is still digging out from last weekâ€™s severe snow storm. Edmonton was hit by freezing rain after 6 p.m. Saturday, with reports of numerous traffic issues throughout the city.