Fluffy bits of water from the sky are once again throwing motorists for a loop all across Southern Ontario, especially in and around Toronto, where a whopping 1 cm of snow on the ground has caused all (frozen-over) hell to break loose.
“People are definitely not used to the snow,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Owsiak told CBC Toronto on Wednesday night, noting that we could expect a “messy commute” come Thursday morning.
He wasn’t wrong.
Sure, Line 2 of the TTC subway system was virtually useless during this morning’s commute, but people who chose to drive or take cabs didn’t have it much better.
“We’ve got white ground, snow flying, vehicles are all over the ditches,” said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schdmitin a live stream on Twitter not long before 9 a.m. “That’s not where they belong and, unfortunately, drivers are going too fast for these conditions.”
Schmidt warned that motorists are “not giving themselves the following distance” and that many are “not paying attention. “
“I don’t know whether you’ve put your winter tires on or not, but looking at the roads right now, they are slick,” said Schmidt. “This our first little wake up call that winter has arrived.”
He then proceeded to list off some of the crash-related closures on highways in and around the Toronto area. Schmidt says there were dozens this morning alone, noting that commute times could be significantly longer for drivers throughout the day.
“There are between 40 and 50 crashes that we’re actively investigating right now,” he said. “Many more vehicles I’m sure are just spinning out.”
No serious injuries have yet been reported on account of the snow-related crashes, though photos on Twitter show at least a few vehicles that have sustained heavy damage.
Torontonians are warning each other on Twitter to take it slow while driving, in their own predictably snarky ways.
“Dear Toronto Drivers: there is snow on the ground this morning,” wrote one. “Remember we are Canadian and have seen snow before, let’s all take a breath and remember we know how to drive and know how to drive in snow.”
“Pack up the clown car folks, it’s Toronto’s first snow of the season!” wrote another. “When we traditionally and collectively forget how to operate motor vehicles.”
Durham Region Police joked this morning that “an unknown white substance” had blanketed most of the GTA, asking drivers to “please remove it from your vehicle windows and be extra cautious.”
Not even half an hour later, the force’s official Twitter account announced that it was dealing with at least 15 minor collisions and reports of vehicles in ditches.
The snow had died down around noon on Thursday, but is expected to return this evening.
Meteorologists say Toronto can expect to see about 2 cm worth of snow accumulation on the ground by Thursday night, which will be quite cold with a windchill-boosted “feels like” temperature of -8 C.
Stay warm, and drive safe.